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fry Mattlmc H. ftnttly 





Through the Civil War Years 


Introduction by HILTON U. BROWN 


New York 

Copyright (7) 1952, 1960, by the Arthur Jordan Foundation. 
All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, 
in whole or in part (except by reviewers 1'or the public- 
press), without written permission from the publishers. 
For information, write University Publishers Inc., 
59 East 54th Street, New York 22, N. Y. 


Library of C Congress Catalog Card Number: Go-i 1*7 1 i . 
Manufactured in the United States of America. 
Printed by Alroy Priming Co., Inc., New York. 

To my mother 
and, the abiding memory of 

my father 


WRITING BIOGRAPHY can be the greatest intellectual fun in the 
world. Add to it the spirit of a pioneer, intent upon blazing a new 
trail, and you have the attractive side of authorship. There is, 
however, the drudgery side. "Of making many books," observed 
the writer of Ecclesiastes, "there is no end." Indeed, without the 
helping hands of hundreds, writing and research could be a toil- 
some bore. With alacrity, then, I turn to the pleasant task of 

The traditionally efficient and courteous co-operation ex- 
tended to me at the Library of Congress has been an unmixed 
blessing. To Dr. Luther Evans, Librarian of Congress, and to his 
staff I owe a debt twice as great as I can mention. Particular 
thanks are due to Mr. David C. Mearns, chief of the Division of 
Manuscripts, and to the following members of his able staff: Miss 
Katherine Brand, Dr. Charles C. Powell, Dr. Elizabeth McPher- 
son, Mr. John de Porry, Mrs. Dorothy Eaton, Mr. Arthur Young, 
and Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Gerrity. 

In the National Archives, Mr. Wayne Grover and a whole host 
of courteous archival assistants rendered me invaluable service. 

In the Indiana State Library, for me a research home second 
only to the Library of Congress, I wish to express my appreciation 
of tide helpful courtesies shown me by Mrs. Hazel Hopper, Lila 
Brady, and their competent aides in the Indiana Division. Miss 
Caroline Dunn, director of the William Henry Smith Memorial 
Library, has never been too busy to lend an effective and willing 
hand. The same must be said of Margaret Pearson, archivist, and 
Harold Burton, curator of newspapers. 

At Georgetown University, the head librarian, Mr. Phillips 
Temple, and the loan librarian, Miss Emily Weems, have made 


every eflrort to secure countless books, reports, and unpublished 
monographs covering the Harrison era. 

Among other institutions whose kindly co-operation has 
speeded this volume to completion I must mention the Wiscon- 
sin State Historical Society, the Chicago Historical Society, the 
Lincoln National Life Foundation of Fort Wayne, Indiana, the 
Hayes Memorial Library of Fremont, Ohio, and the Historical, 
Memorial and Art Department of Iowa (Dcs Moines). In this 
latter depository, Claude R. Cook, curator, extended to me 
privileges that warm the heart of a research scholar. Likewise, the 
New York State Historical Society, as well as the public libraries 
in New York and Indianapolis, rendered me able assistance. 

In the Miami University Library, Oxford, Ohio, I owe a debt 
of gratitude to E. W. King, genial and efficient librarian, for 
materials and illustrations without compare. Also, I wish to 
acknowledge the warm hospitality and scholarly help of Profes- 
sor William J. McNiff, head of Miami's History Department. 

As this biography evolved from the research to the writing 
stage I became increasingly more conscious of a rapidly growing 
debt to a multitude of friends and advisers. Dr. Charles CaJlan 
Tansill, distinguished author and scholar, has been mentor and 
friend every inch of the way. For personal help, encouragement, 
and an unstinting surrender of his time, I thank him most cor- 
dially. At Georgetown University also there have been innumer- 
able Jesuit colleagues ever ready with valuable assistance. By a 
patient reading and criticism of my manuscript they more than 
once emboldened my spirit. With a deep sense of gratitude I 
acknowledge my indebtedness to Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, SJ., 
and to Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, SJ. To Rev. J. Hunter Guthrie, 
S J., President, of Georgetown, and to Rev. Gerard K. Yates, SJ., 
dean of the Graduate School of Georgetown, I express my thanks 
for encouragement along the way. 

Although Washington, D. C, was the literary birthplace of 
Hoosier Warrior, many of the growing pains were experienced 
on the soil of Indiana- Absolutely essential to the completion of 
this volume have been the generous assistance and constant 
encouragement of the Arthur Jordan Foundation of Indianapo 
lis. From this group of public-spirited citizens came my commis- 
sion to give Harrison his place under the sun. The devotion of 
each member of the Jordan board to this project has been vital 



to its completion and inspiring to this writer. In no way, however, 
has the board restricted the author's obligation to write as he 
believed the documentary evidence warranted. Imbued with a 
spirit of public service, the Jordan Foundation has provided 
secretarial assistance and a broad opportunity for important 
archival research in places near and far. Here they stopped. 
Neither salary nor censorship had a part in this biography. I feel 
certain that Mr. Hilton IL Brown, chairman of the board, and 
his associates, Mr. Bernard R. Batty, Mr. Thomas H. Kaylor, 
Mr. H. Foster Clippinger, Mr. Fermor S. Cannon, Mr. Evan 
Walker, and Mr. Emsley W. Johnson, Jr., all know how pro- 
foundly I appreciate their loyal assistance and constant backing. 
There is but one regret. On April 12, 1950, death claimed Mr. 
Emsley W. Johnson, Sr., who was then serving as vice-chairman 
of the Jordan board. As a competent historian, a keen lawyer, and 
a personal friend, he manifested an extraordinary interest in 
every line of the biography then in progress. It is a distinct honor 
to be able to pay my respects to his memory. 

At the President Benjamin Harrison Memorial Home in 
Indianapolis, I have found nothing but kindness and co-opera- 
tion. Mrs. Ruth Woodworth, charming hostess, has spent many 
an hour showing and telling me about the General's house. Here 
I uncovered treasures in stacks of personal and family letters, 
not to mention a goodly number of the photographs and paint- 
ings which grace this volume. Also, to Mr. Gerald V. Carrier, of 
the Jordan College of Music, the institution adjacent to the 
home, I express my thanks. 

Southern Indiana is the home of West Baden College. Here 
many a debt of gratitude is owed to innumerable Jesuit col- 
leagues. Rev. Charles H. Metzger, S.J., professor of history and 
experienced critic, has read the entire manuscript. His encour- 
agement during laborious days has been most welcome. Rev. Leo 
D. Sullivan, S.J., President of West Baden College, has consis- 
tently shown a spirit of interest, accommodation, and encourage- 
ment. Acknowledgments to other confreres of the cloth would 
read like items in the long Homeric catalogue of ships. In globe, 
I express deep appreciation and warm thanks for a charity that 
reflects that of the Master. 

It is a pleasure for the author to record an enormous debt to 
Dr. Louis M. Sears of Purdue University, Freeman Cleaves of the 



Financial World, and Thomas R. Byrne, Jr., who have read much 
or all of this volume in manuscript and have given invaluable 
suggestions. Likewise, to Professor Howard K. Beale of the 
University of Wisconsin and to Professor Roy F. Nichols of 
the University of Pennsylvania, I express cordial appreciation 
for allowing galleys to pass under their eyes. The editorial sug- 
gestions of Dr. James Tobin of Queens College have served me 
well. With gratitude I acknowledge his assistance. 

Scores of personal friends throughout the country have been 
at my elbow witli services too numerous to mention and with 
encouragement unrestrained. I should like to mention at least 
the following: Mr. and Mrs. Bernard F. Gallagher, Mrs. Thomas 
A. Murphy, Dr. Lcland Sage, Dr. Edward A. White, Rev. Herbert 
J. Clancy, S.J., Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. McGowan, Rt. Rev. Msgr. 
Lester V. Lyons, Rev. Cornelius Gall, Rev. Paul F. Hans, Miss 
Ellen T. Becker, Rev. Bartholomew Fair, Rev. John Tracy Ellis, 
Mrs. Margaret Connolly, Miss Margaret Mary cluFicf, Miss 
Roberta Burke, Mr. Joseph Simmons, Mr. Nicholas Devcreaux, 
Mrs. Anna Marie Kane, Dr. James Masterson, Misses Margaret 
and Katharine Fenncll, Mr. and Mrs. A. William Douglas, Mr. 
and Mrs. A. Donald Brice, Mr. and Mrs. Kdward J. Lanagan, 
Mr. and and Mrs. Matthew K. McCarthy, Mr. and Mrs. William 
Angilly, Mother Philip Neri, B.S., and Rev. J. B. Tcnnelly. To 
countless others I can only mention, not express, my gratitude. 

Finally, at the close of this litany, I wish to express my sincere 
appreciation to Very Rev. John J. McMahon, S.J., Provincial of 
the New York Province of the Society of Jesus. Without his en- 
dorsement, hearty co-operation, and consistent encouragement, 
I could not have completed this volume. 

Only a secretary like Betty Pershing of Washington, I). C., can 
describe what an author owes to a good right hand. She typed 
the manuscript without protest at my penmanship or at the 
tired tones emanating from my Dictaphone-Time Master. 

In acknowledgment of an eternally unpayable debt, I dedicate 
this volume to my mother and to the abiding memory of my 

West Baden College 
West Baden Springs, Indiana 
May 24, 1952 


BENJAMIN HARRISON was the twenty-third president of the 
United States. Although he has been Indiana's sole contribution 
to the presidential office, the Hoosier atmosphere goes back to his 
grandfather who was the first governor of Indiana Territory. 
"Ben" was the favored Christian name in the Harrison house- 
hold, including the "Ben" who was a signer of the Declaration 
of Independence and other "Bens" in colonial and English his- 
tory. After his military service in the Civil War, "Ben" was fre- 
quently referred to as "General" by his old comrades-in-arms, 
and this appellation gradually came into wide use. 

Harrison's life was a record of steady advancement. As a young 
lawyer he became one of the leaders of the Indiana bar through 
untiring industry, unusual intellectual ability, and constant ad- 
herence to the best legal traditions of his state. In the Union 
Army, with no previous military experience, he displayed an 
aptitude for leadership that won for him a commission of brig- 
adier general. It was in the army that he first showed a personal 
magnetism that made men follow him without question and that 
transformed the 7oth Indiana Volunteer Regiment into one of 
the best disciplined units in the armies of the West. 

Harrison had a notable academic record. At Miami Uni- 
versity he revealed intellectual gifts far above the average, and 
his assiduous study of the law while residing in Cincinnati pro- 
vided him with the background for a legal career. He married 
early and was particularly fortunate in having a wife who ful- 
filled all the requirements of an ideal helpmate. With all these 
factors in his favor it was inevitable that he would command 
success when barely twenty-onehe settled in Indianapolis, the 
new, raw, straggling capital of Indiana. 

There is little doubt that his family background helped to 
mold Harrison. Descendant of an important family that had 
always played a significant role in the making of America, he was 



ever conscious of the fact that he should live up to the great 
traditions that had been established, but he always said that 
ancestry itself did not make the man and that he wanted no 
credit on that score. "Grandfather's hat," which the cartoonists 
were fond of drawing, was not too big for a head that had grown 
large with the knowledge of America's past and the bright prom- 
ise of its future, but "Ben" had his own hatter. John Philip 
Sousa once shrewdly remarked: "Few intellectual giants have 

graced the presidency, but General Harrison was one of them 

The most brilliant speech I have ever heard was one he delivered 
at the Gridiron Club dinner." 

Harrison had far more than mere intellectual brilliance he 
had character. There was certain firmness in his make-up that 
defied political pressure even when it was applied by men of 
considerable importance in the Republican Party. There was 
also a balance that placed him above mere partisanship. 
When he knew he was right no one could dislodge him. When 
he was once convinced of the law and the facts he settled solidly 
into a conviction and could not be moved. In politics he was a 
leader, not a follower* Tins was clearly demonstrated with refer- 
ence to the appointment of Mr. Brewer to the Supreme Court, 
as related by William Allen White. Harrison had already de- 
cided upon the nomination of Brewer when Senator Preston B. 
Plumb made a call at the White House and, without ascertain- 
ing Harrison's feelings in the matter, abruptly demanded the 
nomination of Brewer. lie was enraged when Harrison gave 
him no assurances regarding the nomination, and he went away 
muttering imprecations against the impassive president. After 
Plumb left the White House, Harrison put the finishing touches 
upon the nomination and sent it to the Senate. He afterwards 
remarked: "I think one of the great moral victories of my life 
came when I put that commission back on my desk after Plumb 
left and conquered a despicable temptation to tear it up and 
throw it in the wastcbasket." 

It has long been evident that such an important personality 
deserved an adequate biography. Several attempts were made, 
but the official four-years' records of the administration had been 
lost, and the biographers were blocked. But at last Mr. Frank 
Tibbott, Harrison's private secretary, found the notes and tubes 
that he had made during the administration and was able to re- 



produce some twenty-five thousand letters and documents that 
had vanished. These were placed by the second Mrs. Harrison 
in the Library of Congress and became available. Of course, 
there were many incidents and records besides these that would 
be needed for a comprehensive biography. The situation im- 
pressed the Arthur Jordan Foundation, which had purchased the 
Harrison home. Some of the directors of the Foundation had 
known General Harrison personally, and they ardently believed 
that his contributions to the American theory of government 
should be made familiar to Americans. So they sought an his- 

After a long search, the Foundation selected Dr. Harry J. Siev- 
ers, at Georgetown University, Washington, D. C., who is a stu- 
dent of this period of American history, and commissioned him to 
write the life of Harrison. For three years he has worked untir- 
ingly in the Harrison manuscripts and in other pertinent col- 
lections. In this first volume of the biography, he recounts the 
story of Harrison's youth, his rise as a leader of the Indiana bar, 
his distinguished service in the Union Army, and his return to 
civil life in Indianapolis. It is a volume that lights up some of the 
dark years. It is also a volume that stresses a familiar theme the 
rise of a young man from relative obscurity to the highest position 
in the nation. It is a typical American story, filled with items of 
human interest that make it good reading. Finally, it is a com- 
mentary on Americanism. Above all, Harrison was an intense 
American who never deviated from the faith of the founding 
fathers. His ancestors had helped to make America, and he con- 
tinued its principles and traditions. None of our presidents en- 
tered the White House with a clearer vision of the great America 
of the future, and none strove any harder to make that vision a 
reality. Thisi book puts Benjamin Harrison on his proper pedestal 
as Indiana's first citizen. 

Chairman of the Board 
Arthur Jordan Foundation 
June, 19521 



to the Second Edition 

BENJAMIN HARRISON'S STATUE in University Park, Indianapolis, 
bears this inscription on its base: 


These words, Indiana's memorial to her adopted son and first 
citizen, were uttered by Harrison himself a year and a half before 
he left the White House. On his fifty-eighth birthday, August 
20, 1891, he visited Mount McGregor, New York, where death 
claimed General Grant in 1885. After dinner, President Harri- 
son spoke briefly to those in his party, memorializing the great 
Union general who had twice been President of the United 

"We are gathered here/' he said, "in a spot which is historic. 
This mountain has been fixed in the affectionate and reverent 
memory of all our people and has been glorified by the death on 
its summit of Gcu. Ulysses S. Grant. It is fit that that great spirit 
that had already lifted its fame to a height unknown in American 
history should take its (light from this mountain-top. It has been 
said that a great life went out here; but great lives, like that of 
General Grant, do not go out. They go on/' 

After Harrison's own death in 1901, his life was epitomized in 
the simple words carved in stone on his monument: 


A C I T I /. K N FAIT 11 V V I, T O 
K V K R Y (> K 1. I <; A T I <> N 


A V O I, U N T K K R S O M> 1 K R IN 


T II K T W K N T Y - T II I R I> 





Monuments do not ensure, however, that a man's life will "go 
on." Such immortality is the gift of History. Why, then, has she 
neglected Benjamin Harrison, who, as proclaimed on his memo- 
rial, "represented what is best in public and private life," leaving 
history and textbook writers to draw their conclusions from the 
comment of his political opponents and to write him down as an 
able but cold, unsympathetic individual with a strange gift for 
unpopularity? Of serious biographies there have been none since 
1888, when his lifelong friend, General Lew Wallace, of Ben- 
Hur fame, dashed off his spirited Life of Ben Harrison for use 
during the presidential campaign. 

It has been assumed that Harrison's life was dull, notwith- 
standing his three years' service in the Union Army and his 
nation-wide fame as a fiery courtroom lawyer and spellbinding 
stump speaker in state and national campaigns. Modest to an 
extreme, rarely goaded into self-explanation, content to let "the 
office seek the man," Benjamin Harrison has remained a shadow, 
while others less gifted have captured the public imagination. 
Yet here was a man who remained a model of incorruptibility in 
an age of political chicanery, one who, according to Benjamin 
Franklin Tracy, was a "genial companion, a tender, great- 
hearted man." 

The fact is that from the very year of his death many men 
skilled in political and biographical writings were eager to 
undertake the task of committing Harrison's life to paper. Pri- 
vate papers, letters, and political memoranda abounded, and inti 
mate friends and contemporaries offered to co-operate with any 
chosen biographer. 

Not until ijMfl, however, forty-four years after Harrison's 
death, was the vast collection of Harrison papers made available 
to any but a selected few. The almost unbelievable chain of 
circumstances that created this unfortunate situation forms a 
story that for various reasons could not be told in its entirely 
until u)f><>, when this second edition of the first volume of the 
long-delayed Harrison biography is being readied lor press. 

It seems to this writer only fair to Harrison's memory that the 
reasons for his obvious neglect should be set lorth at this first 
opportunity. Accordingly, the following pajjes of this new pref- 
ace contain the story behind this belated appearance of a biog- 
raphy of Benjamin Harrison. 



Two months after Harrison's death in 1901, Everard F. 
("Frank") Tibbott, his faithful private secretary, was first to at- 
tempt a biography of the former President. His experience as 
White House Secretary from 1889 to 1893, coupled with his 
earlier experience as an Associated Press reporter, marked Frank 
Tibbott as competent for the job. In addition, he enjoyed the 
confidence of many of Harrison's personal and political friends. 
Foremost among these was De Alva Stanwood Alexander, still 
serving what was to be a 1 4-year period as U.S. Congressman 
from New York's Buffalo district. 

Alexander knew the real Harrison better than most. They had 
first met in Indiana in the early 1870*5, shortly after Alexander, 
the younger of the two, left Maine to become owner-editor of 
the Fort Wayne Daily Gazette. Three years later, the 28-year-old 
newspaperman moved to Indianapolis, where he and Harrison 
met frequently in the courts and soon became fast friends. In 
1876, as Secretary to the Indiana State Republican Committee 
(1874-78), a post Harrison had held at a similar age, Alexander 
worked feverishly throughout the General's unsuccessful cam- 
paign for the Hoosier governorship. In 1881, when Harrison 
went to Washington as Senator, he secured Alexander's appoint- 
ment as Fifth Auditor of the Treasury, and their friendship 

In reply to a letter from Frank Tibbott, Congressman Alex- 
ander expressed his complete willingness to help with the Harri- 
son biography. "1 knew him most intimately, as you know," he 
reminded Tibbott. "There were several years when he talked to 
me in the most confidential manner . . . during the first four 
years he was in the Senate, when I was about the only person in 
Washington with whom he held those relations of confidence." 
Thus, in May 1901, an early, definitive biography of Harrison 
sec* ued assured. 

The pressure of business and failing health prevented Tibbott 
from writing, however, and early in 1904 he turned his notes 
over to another well-qualified volunteer. This was John L. 
Griffiths, an Indiana lawyer who had stumped the state both for 
and with Harrison, and who had followed in his steps as Indiana 
Supreme Court Reporter. 

Again Harrison's friends rallied in support of the project. 
According to the late Hilton U. Brown, distinguished American 



newspaperman, "all of the public and personal documents . . . 
necessary to the accuracy and completeness of the job" were now 
entrusted to Griffiths. Mr. Brown himself stood by to help with 
personal recollections dating back to 1888, when as cub reporter 
lor the Indianapolis News he had covered Harrison's presiden- 
tial campaign. 

D. S. Alexander, interrupting his own writing labors, set about 
preparing further and more detailed memoranda for Griffiths' 
use. The latter, meanwhile, approached his task with the greatest 
optimism. On April 22, 1904, in a White House meeting with 
President Theodore Roosevelt, he remarked confidently that 
"the work will require about a year and a half, I think/ 1 

For a full decade then/after, Griffiths occupied an acknowl- 
edged position as Harrison's official biographer, possessed of all 
relevant papers and the continued assistance ol the late Presi- 
dent's friends. From 1905 onward, however, his time and talents 
seem to have been claimed by the diplomatic service. Through 
out Theodore Roosevelt's administration, he served as American 
consul at Liverpool; later, under President Tall, he became 
consu I -general at London. Busy with his consular duties, ho 
made little or no headway with the biography, despite the fact 
that in Hjitt fie received the invaluable data compiled by (Ion 
gross man Alexander. This had boon twi* checked I'oi accuracy, 
first by William II. II. Mil lor, Harrison's former law partner 
and Attorney General (iSScj <)$}, then by Louis T. Mi< honor, 
Harrison's political mentor, (ho man behind his rise to the 

Then, on May 17, I<H.J, John L. Griffiths died in London, 
thus ending the second attempt to produc o a file of f {art ison. 

Perhaps the most disappointed of those who had given help to 
Griffiths was Mary Lord Harrison, the General's widow by ;i sot 
ond marriage. She had boon piomisod a < otnpleted m:nms< ript 
by the ond of the summer of I;HI, alter which she* planned to 
deposit the presidential papers in the Library of Congress. These 
were now with Griffiths' elfec ts in London. 

The first concern of Mrs. Harrison and family adviseis was to 
find another biographer. Do Alva S. Alexander, an obvious 
choice, was already committed to the writing of his four volume 
work, The Poll I i ml llktory <>/ ////> State of AV<< Ytn/t, No one 
was more disturbed than he at the situation created by Griffiths' 



death. On July 6, 1914, he confided his fears to W. H. H. Miller 

I am disturbed about the Harrison biography not the writing o 
it, but the accumulation of material. Men who know incidents an 
dying, and in a lew years at most no one will be left who possesse 
personal knowledge. Jt will then be hearsay, and "hearsay" makes 
poor history. It is the "inside" that one wants, and such informatior 
doesn't usually get into contemporary papers or letters. 

As far as he could learn, he told Miller, 

Mr. Griffiths did not possess first knowledge of President Harrison'* 
relations with prominent men or how he handled matters that came 
from Congress or from State and other departments. 

Out of his own experience as political historian, he went on to 
stress the point that 

an author cannot know in advance just what he will want. The need 
of additional unpublished, inside information arises every day. . . . 
Such information is not likely to be discovered in Harrison's private 
letters, for unlike George William Curtis, he had no fid us Achates 
to whom he unbosomed himself. Nor did he fill a diary like John 
Quincy Adams or fames K. Polk with his likes and dislikes, his 
troubles and his venom. From men living, therefore, must "the spice" 
be drawn, and sufficient time has now elapsed Lo let it come without 
fear or favor. I know his relations with Senator Morton, his feeling 
toward Plait, and Plait's feeling toward him, and they inure to the 
glory of Harrison. 

The Congressmen), closed his letter with the hope that 

Mrs. Harrison, or whoever is his literary exmitor, will take immedi- 
ate steps and ihc necessary care to put the work into the hands of 
someone qualified to collect ihc material if not to paint the picture. 

Mrs. Harrison, meanwhile, had failed to persuade General 
John W. Foster, who had been Harrison's Secretary of Stale 
(iHj)s>-<)3), to replace Griflilhs, whose death, the widow admitted, 
"has put me in a quandary about General Harrison's biography." 

At this point, late in 1914, Mrs. Harrison turned for counsel 
to Gaillard Hunt, himself a writer, then Chief of the Division of 
Manuscripts at the Library of Congress. Hunt, had come 1 to New 
York to confer with her on the problem of retrieving the Harri- 
son papers from London for deposit in the Library. When the 
question of Grittiths' successor was discussed, be agreed with her, 
General Foster, and Miller that an excellent, choice would be 
Senator Theodore K. Burton of Ohio, author of the Life of John 


Sherman and due to retire from public office the following 
March 4. 

Hunt approached the senator on Mrs. Harrison's behalf and 
found him entirely willing to become the late President's biog- 
rapher. There was one fly in the ointment, however. Burton 
planned a trip to South America and Australia and proposed that 
he start the work on shipboard. Since this obviously implied that 
the Harrison papers would travel with him, Mrs. Harrison with- 
drew her offer, stating confidentially that "under no circum- 
stances would I be willing to have any of the material go out of 
the country again! I have had my experience and my anxiety 
about that." Furthermore, a rumor was abroad that the Ohio 
senator might become a presidential candidate in 1916. The 
upshot of the matter was that Burton sailed without the papers 
and Mrs. Harrison and Hunt renewed their search for a biog- 
rapher. Meanwhile, the mass of Harrison manuscripts was de- 
posited in the Library of Congress under the stipulation that 
without Mrs. Harrison's express permission "no one is allowed 
access to any of the papers." 

During the following decade (1915-25), not only the first 
World War but the failure of Mrs. Harrison and Hunt to agree 
upon a suitable biographer prevented the work from being 
started. The former insisted that she "must have a sympathetic 
writer" preferably "one of General Harrison's contemporaries, 
a public man and a writer." The names suggested by Hunt, who 
had felt that "it would be comparatively easy to secure a prac- 
ticed historical writer and scholar," were either t<x> little or too 
well known to elicit enthusiasm from the widow and her advisers. 
Months of correspondence, indecision, and delays went by, while 
the Harrison papers remained inaccessible to the public. 

Willing to undertake the task were the following seasoned 
writers: Charles Williams, biographer of Rutherford B. Hayes; 
William Roscoe Thayer, who wrote the lives of John Hay and 
Theodore Roosevelt; James Albert Woodburn, professor of his- 
tory at Indiana University and author of a creditable life of 
Thaddeus Stevens; Paul Lelancl Hay worth, of West Newton, 
Indiana, novelist and historian, strongly rec'ommended to Mrs. 
Harrison by Professor William A. Dunning, of Columbia 

Not until December 18, 1926, when De Alva S. Alexander had 



been two years dead, was an official biographer finally settled 
upon. On that day the Indianapolis News carried the following 




Seventeen months before this public announcement, Professor 
Volwiler had approached die Library of Congress with an in- 
quiry as to whether or not anyone was then making use of the 
Harrison manuscripts. His correspondent was J. C. Fitzpatrick, 
Assistant Chief of the Division of Manuscripts, who, on May 26, 
1925, replied in the negative, adding the following explanation: 

Mrs. Mary Lord Harrison has been trying for a long time to find 
someone satisfactory to herself to write the biography of President 
Harrison; and we understand that until she is successful in discover- 
ing the proper author, the Benjamin Harrison Papers will be, as 
always, withheld from investigation. Permission always has to be 
obtained from Mrs. Harrison to see any of these papers, and only in 
very rare instances and in a very restricted sense has it been permitted 
investigators to see any of them. 

Upon receipt of this intriguing information, Professor Vol- 
wiler evidently introduced himself to Mrs. Harrison through the 
proper channels and won her approval as the new official biog- 
rapher. The details behind his appointment would carry this 
preface far beyond any conventional length; suffice it to say that 
Mrs. Harrison's choice was supported by recommendations of 
Volwiler from such notable scholars as Clarence W. Alvord, Her- 
bert E. Bolton, William E. Dodd, Worthington C. Ford, 
J. Franklin Jameson, and St. George L. Sioussat, The Harrison 
papers were placed at Volwiler '$ disposal and, as noted in the late 
Hilton U. Brown's autobiography, "a group of friends of Gen- 
eral Harrison subscribed a substantial fund" to permit sabbatical 
leisure for the professor. 

Almost from the beginning, Volwiler seemed to be plagued 
by various difficulties. First of all, in spite of the voluminous file 
of papers, letters, and documents, including the data supplied 
for Griffiths by Congressman Alexander, he began to feel "handi- 
capped by the want of official documents." At this critical junc- 
ture, Everard F. Tibbott reappeared on the scene. Called from 



his retirement in Chesterville, Maine, by Volwiler, he visited the 
Library of Congress to identify his old stenographic notebooks. 
With Mrs. Harrison's permission, he had these shipped to his 
rural retreat in order to transcribe them for Volwiler's use. 
There were some "4,000 pages of shorthand notes, cooled to the 
extent of thirty-five years," in the collection, representing letters 
and confidential communications dictated by President Harrison 
and addressed to diplomats, public officials, and political friends 
in America and abroad. 

During the summer of 1928, in spite of poor health and sight 
in only one eye, Frank Tibbott worked on the transcription of 
his notes, "dictating 4,000 pages . . . and supervising the typing 
of some 7,000 letters/' The enormous job finished, he spent sev- 
eral days with Professor Volwiler, explaining the background 
and significance of the transcripts. This done, a major roadblock 
had been removed from the uneasy biographer's path. 

Other still living friends of Harrison also came to Volwiler's 
assistance. Colonel Elijah W. Halford, former editor of the 
Indianapolis Journal and Harrison's private secretary during the 
presidency (1889-93), read him the diary he had kept while in 
the latter position. Louis T. Michener, still practicing law in 
Washington, devoted long hours to discussing Harrison with 
Volwiler, and prepared for him detailed memoranda covering 
important and little known particulars of Harrison's political 
career: his presidential candidacy, nomination, election, and ad- 
ministration. At this time also, Volwiler obtained for the Library 
of Congress, and his own use, the huge manuscript collection of 
Benjamin Franklin Tracy, the prominent New York attorney 
who had been Harrison's intimate friend and Secretary of the 
Navy (1889-93). No longer could a biographer fed unduly 
"handicapped," although, understandably, he might fed sub- 

Nevertheless, the decade of the thirties passed, World War II 
came and ended, and still no biography of Harrison appeared. 
The Hoosier president had notv been dead for over forty years. 
On April 24, 1945, for reasons that lie buried with Mrs. 
Harrison and Professor Volwiler, the latter's special privilege as 
sole researcher in the Harrison papers was withdraxvn. For the 
first time since Harrison's death, the collection was declared 
"generally open for the use of students." 



Under this generous ruling of "use without restriction/' the 
present biographer first saw the Harrison manuscripts in the fall 
of 1948, and one year later accepted a commission from the 
Arthur Jordan Foundation of Indianapolis to write a definitive 
biography of our twenty-third President. Unfortunately, by this 
time D. S. Alexander's warning had been fulfilled: death had 
claimed nearly all who had known Harrison intimately. More- 
over, it was soon learned that a serious gap existed in the Harri- 
son collection: most of the first Mrs. Harrison's letters had been 
destroyed. Fortunately, the discovery of her diary in 1950 par- 
tially filled this void. 

In 1952, Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier Warrior was published 
as Volume I of a three-volume work, carrying Harrison's life 
from his Ohio birth through his service in the Union Army 
(1833 to 1 86s). Volume II, published in 1959 as Benjamin Harri- 
son: Hoosier Statesman, recounts the events leading to Harri- 
son's election to the Presidency. While the final volume, 
Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier President, is being completed, this 
second edition of Volume I has been published by University 

Thus, after many false starts and much vacillation, it has 
at last been assured that a full-scale biography of Benjamin 
Harrison will be available to those who have wondered why none 
has been written. To this writer, he has emerged as a man of 
great moral courage and unbending principles. Indeed, as 
Alexander wrote W. H. H. Miller in 1914, "he was a statesman- 
moving on lines of pure principle, hating evil and practicing 
sincerity and absolute honesty," a statement fully supported by 
Henry Adams' autobiographical comment: "Mr. Harrison was 
an excellent President, a man of ability and force; perhaps the 
best President the Republican Party had put forward since 
Lincoln's death." 

Finally, after a dozen years of research and writing, it is the 
humble hope of this biographer that the portrait he has drawn 
of Benjamin Harrison may help make sure that the life of this 
great and good man will indeed "go on." 


Bellarmine College 
Plattsburgh, New York 







Centennial President ... A Preview (1789-1889) The Solemn 
Moment The Inaugural Parade A New Republican Lead- 
er Roots of Character A Debt to the Past An Ancestral 
Strain of Belligerency Benjamin Harrison, the Signer (1726- 
91) "Old Tippecanoe ""Opening up the West "John Scott 
Harrison, Son of One President and Father of Another Mrs. 
John Scott Harrison -Married Life at "The Point " 


The Point Farm -Carefree Days -The Family Circle Log 
Cabin Schooling Grandfather Harrison's Library A Quiet 
Sabbath and the Golden Book At Farmers' College The 
Spirit of Fanners' College: Dr. Robert Hamilton Bishop 
Curriculum and Discipline Laying up a Wardrobe of the 
Mind Sociological Beginnings Roots of Charity The Art 
of Writing -The Art of Reading -Seeds of Patriotism On 
the Home Front (1847-50) Letters from Home Farewell to 
Farmers' College 


Matriculation at Miami University "Daughter of the Old 
Northwest "Rigorous Routine How to Win Friends and 
Influence People A Widening Circle of College Friends 
Off-Campus Activity and On-Campus Diversions "The Pious 
Moonlight Dude "New Frontiers of Knowledge Temper- 
ance: No Life Spent in the Service of King Alcohol Ben's 
First Elective Office Religious Conversion Prelude to Grad- 
uation: Eight Months of Conflict Ministry vs. Law Legal 
Leanings Commencement Day 



A Prelude to the Study of Law Bellamy Storer and the Ohio 
Bar Law Student in Cincinnati The Grind at the Office 
The Bewitchings of Cupid The Valley of Indecision Time 
for Decision A Temporary Road-Block A Lover's Brief: 
Objection Overruled Premarital Bliss Preoccupations and 
Distractions The Road Ahead Admission to the Bar and 
Indianapolis Bound, 


Farewell to "The Point "Indiana and Indianapolis in the 
1850*5 Hoosiers in Retrospect A Hoosier Welcome Self- 
Reliance on a Maiden Voyage The Indiana Bar and a New 
Breadwinner A Break at Last: Off to a Fair Start His First 
Jury Trial Nothing Succeeds like Success The First Son Is 
Born Taking a New Lease on Life Prelude to the Wallace 
and Harrison Law Firm (1855-61) Enter Wallace and Harri- 
sonRoutine Business: The Ladder Up Opportunity for 


"Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy ""Membership 
in the First Presbyterian Church "At the Edge of the Politi- 
cal Arena Seeds of Republicanism The Nebraska Bill of 
Mr. Douglas A New Party: Campaigning for Fremont Po- 
litical Fortunes Rise First Elective Political Office: City At- 
torney, 1857 Dutiful Son and Party Worker Secretary to the 
State Republican Central Committee Prelude to 1860 


The Abolition Fever Strikes Indiana Reporter Nomination 
Falls to Harrison The Campaign Gets under Way Harri- 
son's Debut: The Speech that Almost Failed -Harrison Held 
Crowd . . . Stood with Lincoln The Campaign Continues , . . 
Lincoln Nominated Democratic Dissension and the Con- 
cluding Months of the Campaign Harrison Oversteps Him- 
self Campaign Highlights: Harrison Tussles with Hendricks 



VII (continued) 

The Fruits of Victory Indiana and the Union Look to Lin- 
coln Lincoln Speaks at Indianapolis . . . "Silence Is King": 
A Memory for Benjamin Harrison Harrison Remembers 


The Urge to Volunteer Harrison Remains at Home Free- 
dom for Work Sorrows and Joys Enter Harrison and Fish- 
back A Good Investment The Varying Fortunes of War 
Lincoln's Call for 300,000 More Soldiers . . . Second Lieuten- 
ant Benjamin Harrison Recruiting Company A of Seventieth 
Indiana Volunteers A Month of Preparation (July 14 Au- 
gust 14, 1862) Departure of the Seventieth Indiana for the 


Colonel Harrison and the Seventieth Indiana Head for Ken- 
tucky Camp Ben Harrison, Near Bowling Green, Kentucky 
Camp Experiences A Prelude to Action "Our First Fight," 
Russellville, Kentucky Harrison Outwitted -"The Fire in 
the Rear " 


New Commanders and New Scenes The "Land of Dixie": 
An Old Role but New Players Tennessee Tenure Destined 
to Disappointment Student Instructor in the Military Art 
A Few Rungs up the Social Ladder Prologue to Atlanta: A 
New Year Brings New Hope 


Moving to the Georgia Front Wauhatchie in Lookout Val- 
ley Fighting Joe Hooker Assumes Command A Fight or a 
Footrace On the Eve of the Battle of Resaca 


Resaca The Aftermath and a Sobriquet In Pursuit of Elu- 
sive Joe Johnston An Acting Brigade under Fire Cold Steel 
at Peach Tree Creek Harrison Wears the "Lone Star": At- 
lanta Falls 




Riding the Wave of Success -A Pleasant Interlude -Revenge 
by Ballot -Re-electing Mr. Lincoln -The Decision to Return 
-The Battle of Nashville -Federals in Pursuit 



A Second Homecoming -Hors de Combat -Camp Sherman at 
Blair's Landing Near Hilton Head -The March Through the 


From Raleigh, North Carolina to Washington, D. C-The 
Grand Review -Mustering Out -Homeward Bound 


INDEX 335 

List of Illustrations 

Benjamin Harrison 

between pages 34 and 35 
The Inauguration of Benjamin Harrison, Centennial President, 

March 4, 1889 
The Inaugural Bible 

Benjamin Harrison, Signer of the Declaration of Independence 
William Henry Harrison, Ninth President of the United States 

on page 64 
Commencement Day Program, Miami University (Ohio), 1852 

between pages 66 and 67 
John Scott Harrison 
Elizabeth Irwin Harrison 
North Bend. The Residence of William Henry Harrison and the 

Birthplace of Benjamin Harrison 
Miami University Campus in the 1850*5 

between pages 98 and 99 
Cincinnati, 1868 

Bird's-Eye View of Indianapolis, 1854 
Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, 1854-1856 
Ben Harrison's First Residence in Indianapolis 

between pages 130 and 131 

Ben Harrison's Second Residence in Indianapolis 
The Old Bates House 

Indianapolis During Early Days of the Civil War 
Carrie and Colonel Ben Harrison, 1863 


between pages 162, and 163 
The Home Harrison Left Behind 
Chattanooga Valley from Lookout Mountain 

between pages 194 and 195 
Map of the Atlanta Campaign 
Map of the Territory South of Resaca, Georgia 
Battleground of Resaca, Georgia 
Lithograph (1889) of the Battle of Resaca 

between pages 226 and 227 
Pass in the Raccoon Ridge, Whiteside 
Hero-Trio at Peach Tree Creek: Harrison, Ward, and Coburn 

between pages 258 and 2.59 
Confederate Works in Front of Atlanta 

Ruins in Columbia, South Carolina, as Seen from the Capitol 
Abraham Lincoln 
State House, Indianapolis, 1865 

between pages 290 and 291 
The Grand Review Commences 
Reviewing Stand in Front of Executive Mansion 
The Grand Review from Fifteenth Street and 

Pennsylvania Avenue 
Mrs. Benjamin Harrison, 1865 

End Papers 

Tribute to Benjamin Harrison by Post No. 17, Grand Army 
of the Republic, Indianapolis 

o o 

' en jam in Harrison 


In Retrospect 

ON MARCH 4, 1889, it rained in Washington. At six o'clock 
in the morning it was drizzling, just as it Jiad for the last 
five days. It rained in a leisurely, complacent way, as 
though without effort. The first act of everyone was to go to the 
windows and look out. It had poured so long that all took it for 
granted that it must be clear today, but there was no mistaking 
what was before the eye a leaden sky, with heavy clouds chasing 

By seven o'clock this March morning the capital of the United 
States was literally saturated with music as for four days it had 
been drenched with rain. 1 Martial strains stirred the souls of 
close to half a million people, and soon their hearts beat a joyous 
tempo in anticipation of the day's momentous event the cen- 
tennial inauguration of a President of the United States. Music 
ascended to the heavens from every corner of the town; it in- 
vaded the alleyways; it searched the public buildings; it perme- 
ated the hotels; it almost cleared the atmosphere. 

At about seven-thirty there came a most welcome lull in the 
five-day stretch of bad weather. It actually stopped raining. There 
were thin spots in the sky through which the sun appeared to 
be struggling. The wind freshened from the northeast, to be 
sure, but with only strength enough to lift the dripping, sodden 
pennants and flags, so that they took on a semblance of gaiety, 
seemingly drying themselves. During the next two hours house- 
ridden people swarmed into the streets, more than half-con- 

1 There was excellent newspaper coverage of the inaugural ceremonies. See Vol- 
ume 9, pp. 20-27, of the Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook Series (58 Vols.), entitled 
"February 28, i888-iSeptember 18, 1890; Social and Personal and Political." Papers 
of Benjamin Harrison (Library of Congress). 



vinced that the rain hoodoo was laid to rest. But it was a false 
hope that lured so many to the reviewing stands so early. At 
nine-thirty the clouds opened their floodgates. It rained spite- 
fully. It pelted down, driven this way and that by a raw, sharp 
wind. It was a rain that forced its way into everything it touched 
the kind that you feel in your bones. 2 

The storekeepers who had been offering seats in their windows 
for fifty cents and a dollar raised their prices to six dollars. Two 
or three of the larger stands were roofed over; these were packed. 
Although more than two hours passed before there was anything 
to be seen, sightseers were all in their places by ten o'clock. They 
stood three or four lines deep on either side of the Avenue, and 
filled the stands and temporary scaffoldings, waiting patiently in 
the soaking rain rather than lose a vantage place. 

One century had been completed; a new dawn was breaking. 
On thousands of faces there was a light generated by a proud 
satisfaction with the past and a soaring hope for the future. This 
was a milestone for Americans, were they Democrats or Repub- 
licans, Northerners or Southerners. The people who lined the 
Avenue down to the Capitol nourished their own visions of 
grandeur. Born in the twenties, thirties and forties of the nine- 
teenth century, these citizens had learned from their mothers 
and fathers about men named Washington, Jefferson, and Ham- 
ilton. Madison and Adams were still household words. Ten 
decades of constitutional government were being memorialized 
with the inauguration of General Benjamin Harrison as twenty- 
third President of the United States. 

Coming to the presidency in his mid-fifties, Benjamin Harri- 
son found the nation at peace with all the world and the treasury 
overflowing. Nor was the name of Harrison unknown in the an- 
nals of American history. Many oldsters who took their places 
in the inaugural crowd remembered vividly how General Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, hero of Tippecanoe, had, nearly half a 
century ago, marched triumphantly down this Avenue and had 
sworn the presidential oath. Among the crowd there was a grow- 

2 Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 9, p. 38. Practically all the newspaper men 
compared this inauguration day with that of President-elect Harrison's ill-fated 
grandfather in 1841. 


ing feeling "that the man on the quarter deck had inherited some 
of the unadulterated blood that coursed in the veins of his grand- 
father." 8 As the noon hour approached, the interest heightened 
throughout the ranks of the expectant throng. 

The crowds in the street kept up a constant cheering, shouting 
the name of Harrison, and re-echoing the cry "Four, four, four 
years more." Finally, the procession from the Senate got under 
way, with Marshal Wright of the Supreme Court in the lead. 
The traditional order of procession was preserved, and directly 
behind the members of the Supreme Court and the Sergeant- 
at-Arms of the Senate marched Senators Hoar and Cockrell. The 
retiring President, Grover Cleveland, and the full-bearded Presi- 
dent-elect 4 walked side by side. 

It was well after one o'clock when Cleveland and Harrison 
took their places in a small railed enclosure erected in front of 
the inaugural stand so gaily bedecked with flags, banners and 
shields. Everything within eye's reach was handsome with color. 
The plaza in front of the Capitol, the adjacent sidewalks, por- 
ticos, every place of vantage from which even a glimpse of the 
presidential party could be obtained, were black with people. 
When the crowd saw Harrison, there was a tremendous uproar. 
Bursts of cheering were renewed again and again, and not until 
the new President had several times raised his hand for silence 
did the rousing reception abate. 

Chief Justice Fuller arose and, baring his white locks to the 
rain, held a Bible in his right hand to administer the oath of 
office. General Harrison removed his hat. The Chief Justice read 
the oath of office in a low tone of voice and Benjamin Harrison, 
with his right hand clasping the Bible, bowed his head in assent. 5 
When the ceremony was concluded, the silence was rent by an- 
other tremendous burst of applause. Finally, the President, in 
a manner deliberate and free of self-consciousness as if he were 

3 Clem Studebaker to Benjamin Harrison, March 25, 1892, Harrison MSS, Vol. 

4 Harrison was the fourth President with a full beard. From Washington to Lin- 
coln all the Presidents but two wore smooth-shaven faces. See the State (Richmond, 
Va.), March 14, 1889, a newspaper clipping in the Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook 
No. 9, p. 67, Harrison MSS. 

5 The inaugural Bible is kept in the Harrison Home in Indianapolis. In Harri- 
son's own hand is written: "Here I placed my hand when I took the oath of office/' 


speaking from the floor of the Senate, addressed his countrymen 
in a loud clear voice. 

While the crowd shouted its overwhelming approval espe- 
cially for the statement on pension policy the President closed 
his remarks and turned to kiss his wife and daughter. With a 
wonderful patience, the eager and anxious spectators then waited 
for the inaugural parade. The downpour had tapered off into a 
fine but driving mist. Good humor prevailed. At last, the head 
of the great parade turned into Pennsylvania Avenue on the 
march to the White House. More than one spectator turned back 
the clock half a century. More than 40,000 could remember that 
"Forty-eight years ago William Henry Harrison, on his white 
horse, headed a procession of four thousand patriots along this 
same route." 6 On that day, Admiral Porter, then a mere lieu- 
tenant, claimed it was the finest pageant in the world. Today, 
the pageantry was more elegant, as 40,000 oldsters were in line 
to honor the grandson, many coming from sections of the coun- 
try which in 1841 were trackless wastes of uninhabited territory. 

The sight was inspiring, especially if one looked eastward from 
the Treasury where the Capitol formed a hazy, yet stately back- 
ground. The broad expanse of the Avenue glistened beneath the 
dull sky. General Beaver rode in advance, and his head was un- 
covered in acknowledgment of the greetings of the great multi- 
tude. As the head of the procession reached the Treasury, a halt 
was called, and the presidential party, in its own carriages, turned 
off and drove rapidly to the White House. After a hasty luncheon 
the whole party, with the exception of Mr. Cleveland, repaired 
to the reviewing stand. As President Harrison and Vice-President 
Morton took their places, their cheering admirers were roused 
to new heights of enthusiasm. For the first time, Harrison was 
able to view and to realize the grandeur of the pageant in which 
he had taken so conspicuous a part. 

Every branch of the regular service was in the first division of 
the review: infantry, a detachment of Marines, artillery, cavalry, 
naval apprentices, the National Guard of the District of Colum- 
bia. The President recognized the salute of each commanding 
officer by raising his hat, and he also uncovered his head as each 
flag was dipped in salute. Frequently, he chatted with Vice-Presi- 

* Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, pp. 50-557, Harrison MSS. 


dent Morton, warmly commending the marching of the different 
regiments. The entire National Guard of Pennsylvania was pres- 
ent under the command of Major General Hartranft. Close on 
their heels rode Captain Foraker with his Ohio troops, and after 
them, amid astounding applause, marched the famous Seventh 
of New York. Another division consisted entirely of G.A.R. Posts 
under the command of General Bill Warner. Another included 
Buffalo Bill, leading the Cowboy Club of Denver, Colorado. The 
band of the Flambeau Club of Dodge City sported two unique 
banners rounded by enormous horns. Red-shirted firemen swept 
through the streets like fires on the prairie. Legion, too, were the 
political clubs with red, white and blue umbrellas; others in 
white overcoats, tan-colored gloves and white ties. Last of all 
came the colored Harrison and Morton Clubs from Virginia, 
winding up one of the grandest civil and military pageants ever 
seen in Washington! 

The new President, a man of five feet and some six or seven 
inches, was a stranger neither to Washington nor to the chieftains 
of the Republican Party. Capitol Hill remembered his election 
to the United States Senate in January 1881, when he succeeded 
Joseph E. McDonald as junior Senator from Indiana. Party lead- 
ers recalled his chairmanship of the Hoosier delegation to the 
National Convention in 1880, when he and his colleagues cast 
thirty-four consecutive ballots for James G. Elaine in that his- 
toric contest. Declining the cabinet posts tendered him by Presi- 
dent Garfield, Harrison chose to serve his full term as United 
States Senator to March 3, 1887. In January of this same year, 
after a protracted and exciting contest, he was defeated for re- 
election on the sixteenth ballot by a two-vote deficit. Within a 
year of his defeat, Harrison delivered in Detroit what is consid- 
ered one of his greatest political speeches. 7 The Michigan Club, 
the largest and perhaps most influential political organization 
in the state, was holding its third annual banquet on Washing- 
ton's Birthday. General Harrison responded to the sentiment and 
toast: "Washington, the Republican." Proceeding to say that he 
felt at some disadvantage because he did not approach Detroit 
from the direction of Washington, he then struck the keynote 

7 Charles Hedges, Speeches of Benjamin Harrison (New York, 1892), p. 10. 


of his victorious presidential campaign. "I am a dead statesman," 
he said, "but I am a living and rejuvenated Republican/' 8 

This new Republican was bringing with him to the presiden- 
tial chair a creditable background of experienced service in the 
arena of public life. As lawyer, soldier and legislator, he brought 
to his new position a wholesome balance of talents and abilities, 
though there was nothing of the brilliant individualist in him. 
People on Inauguration Day did not rank him with those early 
wizards of finance, Hamilton and Gallatin, but they were specu- 
lating whether General Harrison's name "would be remembered 
as those of Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln, expo- 
nents of the greatness of our Constitution," or would he "simply 
be named as having been a President from the Fourth of March 
of 1880 to the Fourth of March in iSgg." 9 As the Columbia, 

y +r*j 

South Carolina, Record put it: "Time only can tell; but we do 
not think that Benjamin will miss his chance to write his page 
in the history of the United States." 10 

Yet, the diminutive, rotund Chief Executive was somewhat of 
a mystery even to those admirers so loudly proclaiming his name. 
He spoke in a soft, melodious voice, but behind the voice, as be- 
hind the face, was an element of strength which betokened his 
ability to get there when the time came, an ability which had 
carried him to this, the highest niche in the American temple of 
fame. He had a habit of looking at you and still not looking at 
you, and he impressed one as being a hard man to catch off his 
guard. 11 His hair and whiskers were very light grey and this set 
off quite well the dignity of his carriage. Beneath this sometimes 

8 Ibid., pp. 9-10. Harrison spoke on the theme: "The guarantee of the Constitu- 
tion that the States shall have a republican form of government is only executed 
when the majority in the states are allowed to vote and have their ballots counted." 

Clipping of a feature article entitled "1789-1 889," Benjamin Harrison Scrap- 
book, Vol. 9, p. 59, Harrison MSS. 

10 ibid. The editor of the Record felt that Harrison would be assured an inde- 
pendence of action because "he will not be a candidate for re-election . . . and he 
feels no doubt that he has but these four years in which to write his page in the 
history of the United States, and we think he will not lose the opportunity, as did 

Mr. Cleveland in the Lord Sackville matter Suppose Mr. Cleveland at that time, 

instead of dismissing Lord Sackville like a valet, had treated his imbecility with 
contempt, as it deserved, and had by proclamation closed the ports of the U. S. to 
English vessels, then we do not hesitate to say that in that case Grover Cleveland 
would have swept this country and would have been inaugurated today as Presi- 
dent. He missed his chance; instead of striking the lion, he kicked the donkey; 
America was laughed at; Cleveland was defeated. ... We do not think that Benja- 
min will miss his chance." 

11 Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 9, p. 140, Harrison MSS. 


puzzling exterior was a dynamic and highly cultivated soul. Un- 
doubtedly, thousands of Americans before Benjamin Harrison 
as well as after him have been equally honest in thought, cour- 
ageous in action, firm in decision and noted for common sense. 
Yet, in the eyes of many of his contemporaries, Harrison so sub- 
limated these routine traits of character that they were no longer 
routine. 12 

There was about the new incumbent in the White House an 
air of independence which was always fundamentally present in 
both manner and speech, even, at times, shockingly so. This spirit 
of independence was so startling that it mothered a profane but 
strikingly characteristic tale about the President while he was yet 
a Senator living in Washington. In the absence of his family, Sen- 
ator Harrison boarded at a place called Chamberlain's in the city. 
Here he took his meals, and usually appropriated for his own use 
a rather nice table in the left hand corner of the dining room. 
The host of the home, in one of his reminiscent moods, recalled 
the fact years later and said: "You know, I like President Har- 
rison, and I'll tell you why. At dinner frequently a group of 
Senators (whom I shall not name) passed Harrison by without 

speaking as though they didn't care a d n for him. But what 

I liked about Harrison was, that he didn't seem to care a G d 
d n for them." 13 

Harrison was never in any sense a magnetic personality, though 
more than one friend bore witness that "his heart beat true to all 
the finer and nobler instincts of our nature/' 14 Neither the charm 
of words nor the warmth of an effusive manner could he bring 
to the presidential office, yet by the impact of his keen intellec- 
tual ability a deep impress was to be left upon his time. In 1889, 
this nation, just a hundred years old, needed all the character, all 
the intellectual ability and acumen it could get. Then, as today, 
vastly complex problems demanded brains plus integrity: for- 

12 John L. Griffiths, An Address on the Occasion of the Unveiling at Indianapo- 
lis, Ind. f Oct. 2j, 1908, of the Statue of Benjamin Harrison (Indianapolis, 1909), p. 21. 

is T. N. Cooper to E. W. Halford (Harrison's private secretary), May 3, 1892, 
Harrison MSS, Vol. 139. 

14 T. R. Marshall, Recollections of Thomas R. Marshall: A Hoosier Salad (In- 
dianapolis, 1925), p. 91. See also George F. Hoar, Autobiography of Seventy Years 
(New York, 1903), 1, 413-21; Royal Cortissoz, The Life of Whitelaw Reid (New York, 
1921), II, 122-23; 187-88; D. S. Alexander, Four Famous New Yorkers (New York, 
1923), p. 183; Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (New York, 1931), p. 
320; W. H. Crook, Memories of the White House (Boston, 1911), Chapter 8. 


eign affairs guided by a strong, yet pacific hand; a new navy to 
be organized; the code of international law to be given significant 
application; at home, a high regard for the judiciary to be en- 
gendered; our homesteads cultivated; our forests preserved; and, 
above all, the national peace and prosperity to be not only main- 
tained but also enhanced. In November 1888, close to a half mil- 
lion American voters decreed that Harrison was the man for this 
task. 15 

Character is not the overnight product of high pressure and 
time-saving devices and mechanisms. When character and ability 
loom large and in some degree of eminence, they are somewhat 
like exquisitely carved statues. They are produced and devel- 
oped by generations of disciplined ancestry and in a home en- 
vironment that is vigorous and healthy. It has not been unknown 
that the artistic touch of genius can sometimes carve a statue 
in a comparatively brief span of time, but better known is the 
long, stern apprenticeship imperative to the exalted and respect- 
ed master. So it was with Benjamin Harrison. 10 The pioneer sur- 
roundings of southwestern Ohio furnished the background of 
his training and apprenticeship. 17 He was fortunate in having 
parents who were responsive to the call of the spirit; a rural birth- 
place on the fringe of the unruly Ohio near Cincinnati; a prac- 
tical farmer and respected statesman for a father; 18 a group of 
brothers and sisters, cousins and neighbors, to teach him the give- 
and-take code of youngsters; and at the age of 21, a newly won 
bride to instruct him in the stern necessity of getting out and 
facing the world. His home surroundings were rather ideal: tu- 
tors and the log-cabin school provided for his mental training, 
while the farm, the river, and the woods afforded ample oppor- 
tunity for bodily development. In the midst of these natural 

15 The defeated Grover Cleveland polled a popular plurality of 98,017 votes over 
Harrison's 478,141. The electoral vote was Harrison 233 and Cleveland 168. The 
World Almanac and Encyclopaedia, iBg^ t p. 376. 

J See R. B. Henry, Genealogies of the Families of the Presidents (Rutland, Ver- 
mont, 1935), pp. 161-88 for the ancestral beginnings of William Henry and Benja- 
min Harrison. See also Charles Keith, The Ancestry of Benjamin Harrison 
(Philadelphia, 1893), pp. 41-43. 

17 J. Scott Harrison, Pioneer Life at North Bend (Cincinnati, 1867), pp. $-15, 
gives the best short account. For a general and scholarly treatment see B. W. Bond, 
Jr., The Foundations of Ohio (Columbus, 1941). 

18 Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook, 1853-1901, Vol. i, Nos. 34 a and 34 b, Harrison 


blessings one might be tempted to overlook an essentially im- 
portant fact that Harrison was endowed with a strikingly remark- 
able ancestry. 

Characteristically, Harrison never spoke much of his more re- 
mote ancestry, though there is ample evidence that he was in no 
sense indifferent, 19 once the question was raised. There was an 
incident in the Fremont campaign of 1856 that reveals his mind 
in sharply defined terms. The newly born Republicans of Indian- 
apolis, where young Ben Harrison had his unprepossessing law 
office, were eager to ratify the great Pathfinder's nomination. The 
leaders found themselves desperately in need of speakers whose 
name might command respect and whose presence would serve 
to whip up some enthusiasm. Harrison was quietly at work in his 
office when a number of gentlemen came in and insisted that he 
make a speech to a political gathering in the street outside. Har- 
rison protested, as he did on a number of other occasions, his lack 
of preparation. These men, however, were in no mood to be de- 
nied. They picked up his five-foot-seven frame and carried him 
downstairs, never permitting his feet to touch the ground until 
they had placed him on a store box that had been set up in the 
street. At once he was introduced as the grandson of ex-President 
William Henry Harrison, the man who had succeeded a Demo- 
cratic President. Flustered and a bit nervous, the young speaker 
momentarily crossed up the political leaders by refusing to draw 
on the political capital of his grandfather. With an air of youth- 
ful defiance he said: "I want it understood that I am the grandson 
of nobody. I believe that every man should stand on his own 
merits." 20 

Yet, as the years passed, it became increasingly clear that he 
did put his Harrison heritage on a pedestal. Perhaps the most 
remarkable instance of this is evident when, in the spring of 
1892, a perceptibly growing pressure was put on the President 
to stand for renomination and re-election. 21 According to Louis 
T. Michener, Harrison's chief political manager, it was a pres- 

19 In the papers of John Scott Harrison (Library of Congress) as well as in those 
of his brother-in-law, John Cleves Short (Short Family Papers, Library of Congress), 
evidence is found that young Benjamin was not permitted to grow up in ignorance 
of his forebears. 

20 jjth Congress, ist Session, House Document No. 154, pp. 127-28. 

21 A typewritten, undated paper by L. T. Michener, entitled "Harrison Prior to 
the National Convention of 1892," Michener MSS, p. i. 


sure that did not respect geographical boundaries, and in some 
cases, even party lines. Influential men, penning letters marked 
"personal" and "confidential," urged him to accept a second 
term. 22 To all of these well-wishers and self-appointed political 
advisers, the President gave the same patient but firm reply, that 
he did not want a second term and that in good time he would 
decline to be a candidate. It appears that he persevered in this 
determination until late May, when, at last, thoroughly irked by 
the continual attacks, Harrison felt compelled to become a can- 
didate. Some Democratic opponents and a number of personally 
hostile Republican leaders had let it be noised about that they 
believed Harrison's administration was marked by both personal 
and political failure. Harrison was particularly vexed by the state- 
ment that his difficulties in office were compounded by his ad- 
ministrative mistakes and by his personal inability to unbend 
enough. 23 

The reason behind this sudden change in plans, as alleged by 
the Chief Executive, left a deep impression upon Michener's 
memory. This political lieutenant of the '88 campaign recalled 
his summons to the White House where he found his chief in- 
dignant and hurt. Yet with a show of coolness and deliberate 
dignity that served to conceal his offended feelings, the President 
remarked: "No Harrison has ever retreated in the presence of a 
foe without giving battle, and so I have determined to stand and 
fight/' 24 

The will to fight, it seems, had played no small part in his 
family history, for on his father's side he came of a long line of 
stern stuff. 25 The record is fairly complete. From the landing of 
Benjamin Harrison, the English emigrant, who came to Virginia 
within two and a half decades of the Jamestown settlement, down 
through four successive generations of Benjamin Harrisons, the 
ancestral line of the President manifested an average sturdiness 

, pp. 1-2. See also Vols. 139-41, passim, Harrison MSS. 

23 For a summary treatment, carefully but not impartially edited, see James E. 
Pollard, The Presidents and the Press (New York, 1947), pp. 538-51. 

24 Michener MSS, p. 3. 

25 One of his direct ancestors was a member of the English House of Commons in 
the Long Parliament in 1649, an d voted for the execution of Charles J. On his 
father's side, through the Willings, Benjamin was a descendant of Major General 
Harrison of the Parliamentary Army. See "Benjamin Harrison Scrapbooks, 1853- 
1901," No. i (1853-61), "Miscellaneous: personal and political," Harrison MSS. 


of character and a more than average prosperity in the goods of 
this life. All five Benjamins (1632-1 79 1) 26 were distinguished; 
their personal and public records are almost identical: gentle- 
men of education and wealth, burgesses, councilors, and militia 
colonels. It would be utterly false to acquiesce in the impression 
created by campaign biographers that President Benjamin Har- 
rison came from "poor but pious" stock. 27 

Four Virginia generations of his name had preceded the Ben- 
jamin Harrison (1726-1791) who had signed the Declaration of 
Independence, but it fell to his lot to write one of the most inter- 
esting chapters in the early American history. 28 He was the first- 
born son of a militia colonel, county sheriff, and member of the 
House of Burgesses; his mother was the attractive daughter of 
Robert (King) Carter. It is scarcely a reflection on the early Har- 
rison prudence to note that the Carters were one of the richest 
native-born American families of the day. 29 When the signer 
was nineteen, an undergraduate at William and Mary, lightning 
struck his father dead. 80 The bulk of a vast estate, with "slaves 
and stock thereon," 31 fell to the young lad's possession and man- 
agement. Shortly after college, having successfully supervised the 
administration of his father's estate, he began his public career. 
Entering the House of Burgesses, he gave uninterrupted service 
for twenty-seven years, leaving only to take his seat in the First 
Continental Congress. George Washington tells us that his fel- 

26 Keith, op. X pp. 41-43, and Dorothy Burne Goebel, William Henry Harrison 
(Indianapolis, 1926), p. s, give the arrival date of the first Benjamin as 1634. Free- 
man Cleaves, Old Tippecanoe (New York, 1939), p. i, gives the date as 163*. The 
latter's explanation (p. 345) seems more accurate. 

27 One of the best epitomes of the Harrison heritage was given by the Phi Beta 
Kappa speaker at William and Mary College in 1855. He said: "Of all the ancient 
and honorable families in the colony of Virginia that of Harrison, if not the oldest, 
is one of the oldest . . . [and for] a period of more than two centuries, the name has 
been distinguished for the patriotism, the intelligence, and the moral worth of those 
who have borne it." James A. Green, William Henry Harrison: His Times (Cincin- 
nati, 1941), pp. 4-5; also, Harrison Scrapbook No. i. 

28 House Document No. 154, pp. 59-43. 

29 Cleaves, op. cit., pp. 1-3. The Binghams, of Philadelphia, were perhaps a 
wealthier family. 

30 "News from the Maryland Gazette," Maryland Historical Magazine, No. 17 
(1922), p. 365. The following item is listed for Friday, August 16 (1745): "Williams- 
burgh, July 18: Last Friday evening (July 12) a most terrible accident happened in 
Charles City County; when a violent thunder gust arose and lightning struck the 
house of Col. Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley, which killed him, and his two young- 
est daughters. . . ." 

31 Cleaves, op. cit. f p. 3. 


low Virginian was summoned to this Congress in 1775 "to ut- 
ter plain truths" 82 and to head the Committee of the Whole 
which debated the Declaration of Independence and reported 
that document as agreed to. The honor that was his in signing 
the Declaration served but as a prelude to further public service 
as Virginia's Governor (1781-84), and as Speaker of the House 
of Burgesses (i78s). 88 Nor was his domestic life less fruitful; hav- 
ing married Elizabeth Bassett, the charming niece of George 
Washington's sister, he gave to Virginia and to America seven 
hardy children, four girls and three boys. 

The second youngest son was William Henry Harrison. 84 Born 
February 9, 1773, it was not until his inauguration as President 
in 1841 that this grandfather of Benjamin Harrison was desig- 
nated "Child of the Revolution." 35 At his birthplace, on the 
north bank of the James, there was more talk about the Colonial 
boycott on tea and the darkening clouds of impending conflict 
than there was about the new arrival. 

His first eight years were quiet enough. The immense planta- 
tion, his father's shipyard and ships nearby, the mill pond and 
the mill, the many slaves and the large stables combined to make 
Tidewater Virginia a pleasant place in which to grow up. There 
is no reason to suspect that even Benedict Arnold's invasion of 
Virginia in 1 78 1 which brought the war close to home had greatly 
perturbed William Henry. 36 The day he remembered with mis- 
givings came in April, 1791, when his father's death dashed what 
hopes he had of becoming a physician. 37 The world closed in on 
him. The ravages of war had left the Harrison fortunes at a low 
ebb, and the subsequent depression was no respecter of persons. 

The eighteen-year-old Harrison felt the pinch of an empty 

82 Woodrow Wilson, George Washington (New York, 1896), p. 192. 

33 This was his second term as Speaker, for he had defeated Thomas Jefferson for 
the same office seven years previously. In the spring of 1791, on the threshold of 
another term as Governor, he died. 

34 Cleaves, op. cit., p. 4, states that William Henry Harrison was the youngest of 
seven in a family that included four daughters. 

35 The phrase is attributed to the campaign orators of 1840. Sec Green, op. cit., 

38 The Harrison family had already been removed to a place of safety, since 
Berkeley lay on the land and water routes to Richmond. The story of the plunder of 
the Harrison estate by Benedict Arnold is related by Cleaves, op. ciL, p. 4. 

37 His father had determined that he should be a physician and had pointed the 
young man's education in that direction. See Green, op. cit., pp, 


pocket, but by August, 1791, he succeeded in obtaining a com- 
mission in the infantry. His service with the First Regiment 
carried him westward to the Ohio country, where he became 
an aide to General "Mad" Anthony Wayne through successful 
campaigns against the Indians which resulted in the Treaty of 
Greenville in August, 1795- 88 "Opening up the West" was a fine- 
sounding phrase, but the bleak reality behind it signified only 
the perilous penetration into an Indian wilderness. 

Strange as it may seem, Harrison won his greatest prize, not in 
successful skirmishes with the Indians, but in the comparative 
quiet and safety at Fort Washington, Cincinnati, where he was 
Commandant in 1795. There he met and married a remarkably 
fine young lady, Anna Symmes, 89 who not only bore him ten 
children, but also outlived him by almost a quarter of a cejntury. 

When he died in the White House in 1841, William Henry 
H.jirrison had enjoyed a full and important life. Biographers have 
done him justice so that the deeds and reputation of "Old Tip- 
pecanoe" have become a memorable part of the American tradi- 
tion and heritage. There is, however, one memorial carved in 
stone that speaks for itself. At North Bend, Ohio, the birthplace 
of President Benjamin Harrison as well as the site of the ancestral 
home, amid century-old trees surrounding his grave, stands a 
majestic monument. It bears a two-fold message: a succinct biog- 
raphy and a well-merited tribute. On the side towards the Ohio 
River it reads: 

"William Henry Harrison. Secretary of the Northwest Ter- 
ritory. Delegate of the Northwest Territory to Congress. Terri- 
torial Governor of Indiana. Member of Congress from Ohio. 
Ohio State Senator. United States Senator from Ohio. Minister 
to Colombia. Ninth President of the United States." 

88 When William Henry was only eleven, George Washington wrote to his father, 
then Governor, and emphasized the great importance and necessity for Virginia to 
make a quick and easy road to Ohio. It was not only a question of pacifying Indians 
and opening up trade lanes with the West, but of tying the "back country" politi- 
cally to the Atlantic states, lest it be lost to the Union. By a turn of fate, Governor 
Harrison's son did much to solve these problems. Green, op. cit., p. 9. 

39 She was the daughter of John Cleves Symmes, pioneer and Chief Justice of the 
Northwest Territory for a quarter of a century. Left motherless shortly after birth, 
she stayed in the East with her grandmother when her father made his Miami Pur- 
chase in 1788. After being educated in New York, Anna Symmes went to Ohio in 
1794. Shortly thereafter she married Capt. Harrison. She died in 1864. See the long 
article in The Weekly Inter-Ocean (Chicago), October as, 1889, in Benjamin Harri- 
son Scrapbook No. 9, p. 19, Harrison MSS. 


Facing landward and the West he served for fifty years, the 
inscription reads: 

"Ensign of the First United States Infantry. Commandant of 
Fort Washington. Hero of Tippecanoe. Major General in the 
War of 1812. Victor of the Battle of the Thames. Avenger of the 
Massacre of the River Raisin." 40 

On March 4, 1889, when the last paraders had passed the re- 
viewing stand, and twilight was thickening into night, President 
Harrison and his son Russell arose and walked rapidly to the 
White House. 41 This was his first peaceful moment all day, and 
it is more than likely that he spent it, as was his wont, medita- 
tively. 42 Perhaps he mentioned to Russell how much he missed 
his own father, now ten years in his grave, or, perhaps, more in 
accord with his undemonstrative nature, 43 let his mind wander 
back so that forty years dropped into nothingness. He was six- 
teen, sitting in a dimly lighted room of a little prep school 
perched high on a hill just outside Cincinnati. 44 He was reading 
a letter from The Point, the farm he missed so much; the letter 
was from his father, and he smiled when he learned he had an- 
other little brother, but the rest of the letter was in a more seri- 
ous vein. 

... I can hardly express to you my satisfaction at hearing how high 
you stand in the estimation of your professors. I hope you will con- 
tinue to be studious and attentive to your duties, and above all that 
you will not be unmindful to those solemn obligations you owe to 
God. Youth is the time to serve the Lord. Some people think to be 
religious you must be melancholy and morose, but it is not so. Who 
has so much cause to be cheerful, as he who has made his peace with 

Serious-mindedness well describes John Scott Harrison, born 
at Vincennes, Indiana, on October 4, 1804. His deep religious 

40 For an excellent illustration of this monument sec Green, op. cit. f between 
pp. 440-41. 

41 Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, pp. 20-21, Harrison MSS. 

42 William Pinckney Fishback, Harrison's law partner for seven years and his 
acquaintance for thirty-eight years, made this observation in a long biographical 
account in an interview for the New York Evening Post, December, 1888. See Harri- 
son Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS. 

43 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, passim, 1862. 
44 Farmers' College. See Ch. 2, note 50. 

46 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, October 7, 1849, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


convictions, which helped ease his hard and pinched career, can 
be more directly, attributed to his mother's influence than to that 
of his military-minded father. 46 Scott Harrison, as he was known 
to his family and friends, was plainly the favorite son of both his 
parents. They not only confided in him, but it would almost seem 
that his father presumed upon this son's sense of filial duty. In 
the manifestation of his own magnanimity, General Harrison 
deprived Scott of the advantages of a West Point education, to 
which both had looked forward, and, while serving in Congress, 
gave a commission to the Military Academy to the son of a Bap- 
tist preacher, who came to be Governor Wallace of Indiana and 
the father of Lew Wallace, himself distinguished by military, dip- 
lomatic and literary fame. 47 However, Scott Harrison showed 
himself to be no laggard or dolt, but pursued his studies and 
graduated at Cincinnati College under the presidency of Phi- 
lander Chase, later Bishop of Ohio, and the founder of Kenyon 
College in Gambier. He was valedictorian of his class, and soon 
after began his studies for the bar. He entered the law firm of 
Longworth and Harrison, whose senior member was Nicholas 
Longworth, owner of millions in Cincinnati real estate. 48 

As his father was drawn more and more into the field of pub- 
lic service, eventually being appointed Minister to Colombia by 
President John Quincy Adams, it devolved upon the son to man- 
age affairs at home. Forced by these circumstances to discontinue 
the law, Scott quietly withdrew to the North Bend farm and took 
charge of the family's large landed estate. As a suitable reward 
for this filial sacrifice and diligence, William Henry Harrison set 
aside for his son almost two-fifths of his 2,ooo-acre farm and built 
for him a beautiful house four miles from North Bend. 49 This 
new homestead and farm was familiarly known as The Point, 
for it lay toward the end of a long neck of land bordered on 

46 Mrs. Harrison's Presbyterian faith is celebrated. See Green, op. tit., pp. 63-64, 
443-45. Even more interesting are the letters of Mrs. William Henry Harrison in 
the Short Family Papers, Box 56 (Library of Congress). Her husband grew interested 
in the things of the spirit much Ikter in life and, while President, professed faith in 
the Episcopalian Church. John Scott, their son, did not join the Cleves Presbyterian 
Church until October 8, 1849. This mav account for the fervor of the letter to his 
son, cited above. 

47 Weekly Inter-Ocean, October 22, 1889, in Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook 
No. 9, p. 19, Harrison MSS. 

48 ibid. 

40 Lew Wallace, Life of Gen. Ben Harrison (Philadelphia, 1888), pp. 48-49; also, 
House Document No. 154, p. 84. 


the north side by the Big Miami and on the south by the Ohio, 
tapering to a point at the confluence of the two rivers. 

The attractive young bride who was to become the mother of 
President Benjamin Harrison hailed from Mercersburg, Pennsyl- 
vania. Scott and Elizabeth Irwin, the daughter of Captain Archi- 
bald Irwin, were married at The Point on August 12, iSgi. 60 
Elizabeth had an equally important heritage to pass on to her 
children. Her grandfather, Major James Ramsey, was a Scottish 
gentleman who had emigrated from Glasgow to Mercersburg. 51 
Near there He built a fine stone mill, established a store, and 
manufactured flour largely for exportation to Baltimore and 
Philadelphia as well as to Europe. A leaky and slow-sailing ship 
ruined a large quantity of flour on the way across the Atlantic, 
and compelled him to dispose of his business east of the moun- 
tains. Owning some large bodies of land west of the mountains, 
he moved to Ligonier, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and 
there began anew, early in the iSoo's. His store helped to estab- 
lish his popularity in the valley, and his son, Colonel John Ram- 
sey, laid out the town of Ligonier. It was his second daughter, 
Mary, 02 who married into the Irwin family back in Mercersburg, 
and became the mother of Elizabeth Irwin. If Elizabeth's ancestry 
differed markedly from Scott Harrison's, it was a difference in 
degree, not in kind. Along with her brothers and sisters, she was 
brought up to read the Scripture, memorize the catechism, and 
observe rigidly the Sabbath and its duties. The Irwins seemed 
to vie with the Ramseys in strict conformity to the Presbyterian 
code of living. 

50 This was his second marriage. In 1824 he had married Lucrctia K. Johnson, of 
Boone County, Kentucky, who bore him three children, Betsy Short, William Henry 
(who died in infancy), and Sarah Lucretia, before she herself died in 1829 ( ? )- Sec 
Wallace, op. cit., p. 46. For the most complete account of William Henry Harrison's 
children and their marriages, see Green, op. cit., pp. 485-89. 

61 Major Ramsey was accompanied by his sister, who later married Mr. Agnew, 
brother of the grandfather of the eminent surgeon, Doctor D. Hayes Agnew of 
Philadelphia. The Presbyterian Banner, July 27, 1889, a clipping found in Benja- 
min Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, p. 59, Harrison MSS. 

82 The Presbyterian Banner, July 27, 1889, Harrison MSS. It is interesting to note 
that Mary Ramsey Irwin gave two daughters to the Harrison family in marriage. 
Her older daughter, Jane Findlay Irwin, married William H. Harrison, Jr., and 
later served President William Henry Harrison with great grace and dignity in the 
White House. Elizabeth, on a visit to her sister in Cincinnati, met John Scott. 


It is not difficult to picture the life which Benjamin's parents 
lived in the two years before his birth and during the years of 
his infancy. It was a pinched existence. Financially, the ground 
all but crumbled beneath their feet, as the fortunes of farming 
along the Ohio were distinctly treacherous. Each major rise and 
fall of the river was a crisis, for, when the placid river was so low 
in late summer and early fall as to make navigation slow, difficult, 
and even impossible, that spelled hardship. Yet, come February 
and March, the river rolled in an "irresistible flood, furious and 
uncontrolled, its mighty tide covering the bottom lands for miles 
with its overflow, washing away its banks, and carrying off in a 
riot of ruin the great trees of the foresf'and this Spelled disas- 
ter. 53 Yet, together, John Scott and his wife had the courage to 
brave these dangers of the river country and the uncertainties of 
pioneer life, toiling for twenty years. In that time they reared 
nine children. He who was destined to occupy the White House 
was their second-born; 54 his first wail was heard on August 20, 

53 Green, op. cit., p. 409. John Scott Harrison himself delivered an address 
entitled "Pioneer Life at North Bend" before the Whitewater and Miami Valley 
Pioneer Association, at Cleves, Ohio, Sept. 8, 1866. It has been published (Cincin- 
nati, 1867). It is excellent for the history of the settlement of North Bend and for 
personal anecdotes. A copy is now housed at the Indiana State Library, Indianapolis. 

54 Their first-born was named Archibald Irwin after Elizabeth's father, though 
the family always spoke of him as Irwin, He was Benjamin's "guardian" during 
prep-school and college days. Later, he rose to become a Lieutenant Colonel in the 
Volunteers and made a splendid record during the Civil War. He died on Decem- 
ber 16, 1870. 


Pioneer Boyhood and 
College Days 

THE ROLLING acreage of The Point was the first home Ben 
jamin Harrison remembered, though his grandfather'; 
estate at North Bend, Ohio, was his birthplace and th< 
Mecca of his boyhood pilgrimages. 1 The Point was pleasantly lo 
cated at the mouth of the Big Miami, and John Scott's 600 acre: 
ran from the river over a hill, near an old graveyard, and termi 
nated on the bluff of a ridge. In the iSgo's this little settlemen 
tried in vain to keep pace with the rapid development of south 
western Ohio. 2 Cincinnati, the Queen City, which contained onh 
960 people in 1805, could boast by the iSso's of over 10,000 in 
habitants. Other towns sloughed off their laggard pace, as th< 
country of the Miami filled up with amazing rapidity. 3 No longei 
was there any danger from the Indians on the Ohio. Instead, th< 
river was alive with an endless procession of flatboats, arks, anc 
skiffs, loaded with men and women, household goods and domes 
tic animals. From his front porch young Ben could see this pio 
neer parade pass before his eyes. 

A great acreage yielded John Scott and his family a livelihood 
rugged and pinched though it was. Corn, wheat and hay were the 

1 General William Henry Harrison's original purchase was 400 acres. This wa 
expanded until the farm contained a,8oo acres: a,soo in the "home farm" and < 
detached 600 acres to the west. This smaller piece was given to John Scott, who ii 
1833 was building his own homestead on it. Since the house was still under construe 
tion in August, 1833, Mrs. Harrison was made comfortable at North Bend and her< 
Benjamin was born. See Freeman Cleaves, Old Tippecanoe, p. 38, and James Green 
William Henry Harrison, pp. 415-16. 

2 See Francis P. Weisenburger, Passing of the Frontier (Columbus, Ohio, 1941- 
44). PP- 2-33- 

3 John Scott Harrison, Pioneer Life at North Bend, pp. 1-6. 


principal crops, while the forests afforded the meat of the bear 
and the deer, and the streams still supplied fine fish. 4 Hogs, cattle 
and sheep were raised and marketed, sometimes at Cincinnati, 
sometimes at New Orleans. 6 Much of the family clothing was 
woven on the premises, though tea, coffee and sugar had to be 
purchased. Among delicacies there were a few chickens and tur- 
keys for summer consumption; in the fall the fattened hog pro- 
vided hams, bacon and salt pork; much of the beef was corned. 
The staff of life was frequently made appetizing with delicious 
peach and apple butter. 6 

When most of his family had grown up and he was serving in 
Congress, John Scott Harrison wrote to his brother-in-law, who 
owned a neighboring farm: "My lot in this life has been to raise 
hogs and hominy to feed my children and I have devoted but lit- 
tle time to fancy articles." 1 Hominy, made right on the farm, was 
a staple article of diet, and only when the supply of wheat and 
corn was low did johnny-cakes disappear from the breakfast table. 

Despite his abundance of stock and produce and his willing- 
ness to find a market, Benjamin's father found himself more 
often than not in desperate financial straits. The periodic and 
protracted sickness of his large and growing family, 8 the low price 
of hay and the scarcity of money, 9 the severe losses caused by 
floods, 10 and a number of equally serious contributing factors 
more than once forced John Scott to the brink of losing his 
farm. 11 Only his mother's devotion and his brother-in-law's ready 
cash kept the Harrisons in possession of The Point during the 

* Ibid., p. i; also, Harrison MSS, Vol. 157. 

5 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, July 24, 1844, December 14, 1845, 
Jan. 21, 1848, Short Family Papers, Box 55. 

6 Green, op. cit., p. 415. 

7 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, January 21, 1856, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. Harrison writes about the large "wheat fields" (June 29, 1842) and 
of sending "two fat steers to Cincinnati" (December 14, 1845). 

8 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, December 16, 1841, March 19, 1842, 
January 23, 1844, September 24, 1847 (?), and August 12, 1851, Short Family Papers, 
Box 55. These letters show that Scott's family was besieged constantly by illness: 
scarlet fever, frequent colds, pleurisy, and severe attacks of dysentery. 

9 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, April 17, 1843, ibid. See also Harri- 
son's letter of July 24, 1844, an< * May 5, 1845, on the same subject. 

10 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, Jan. 21, 1848, Short Family Papers, 
Box 55: "My losses by the late flood are so heavy that I despair of recovering them 
without parting with a portion of my farm." 

11 Ibid., John Scott Harrison to Short, January 16, 1850. 


entire period of Benjamin's minority. 12 Perhaps the most serious 
crisis occurred shortly after Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison's death in 
1850, while the two older boys, Irwin and Benjamin, were away 
at school. On November go, 1850, John Scott wrote in despera- 
tion to John Cleves Short, his sister's husband: 

You will perhaps be surprised that one having so small a claim 
upon your confidence in money matters, should venture your aid 
again in that way. And nothing but a conviction that you will not 
receive my application in a spirit of unkindliness, has determined 
me to ask your friendly interference in extracting me again from most 
unpleasant embarrassments. 

And here, permit me to say, that I would not make this application 
did I not know that I can give you such security for three or four 
thousand dollars as will place you beyond the possibility of loss, and 
at the same time offers satisfactory assurance that the interest shall be 
paid promptly. I propose to give as security for a loan of the above 
mentioned amount, a second lien on my property here (four hun- 
dred acres) placing all other matters in such a way, as our friend 
Judge Hart will say, gives you the preference over all other liens 

. . . Some months ago I mentioned my troubles to Judge Hart and 
he advised me to sell my farm and come to the city and live, sell my 
farm, I really would, but what could I do in the city? I could not 
feed myself much less my children. Besides I am miserable enough 
here and I should be more so there 18 

The details of this relentless struggle for survival were hidden 
from Benjamin during his early days, and there is no question 
that his first decade of life at The Point was most enjoyable. He 
grew up, at first a slender, wiry stripling, 14 and bit by bit became 
a chubby, square-shouldered boy, so blond as to be almost white- 
is Mrs. Anna Harrison to John Cleves Short (her nephew), November 14, 1848, 
Short Family Papers, Box 56, writes that General Harrison's estate should be settled 
as soon as possible so "that the heirs should get the little that may be left lor 
them ... as many of them stand in need, some of them to spend in education, others 
to support their families. . . .*' 

18 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, Esq., November so, 1850, Short 
Family Papers, Box 55. To assure prompt payment of interest, John Scott himself 
proposed to make such arrangements with nearby Indiana distillers to authorize 
Short to draw on them every year after corn gathering, for the amount of interest 
^ due. John Scott used the river in nearby Whitewater Canal to deliver and sell corn 
to the distillers at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, five miles distant. See letter of John 
Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, December 14, 1845, Short Family Papers, 
Box 55. 

14 J. P. Boyd, Life and Public Services of Benjamin Harrison (Philadelphia, 
P- 6. 


haired. 15 Young Ben loved to fish, hunt and swim, and it was 
these early predilections that forced him to solve his first prob- 
lem in human relations. Before he would be allowed to set out 
on any of these expeditions into the woods for squirrels or out 
on the river for fish or ducks, his father insisted that he always 
have the company of an elder. Ben showed a spark of genius in 
complying with the paternal injunction. For "very frequently he 
assisted the negro who served the household in the capacity of 
cook; he carried wood and water for him, and helped him wash 
the dishes that he might better secure his company in a bout at 
fishing or hunting." 18 Ben liked his other schoolboy sports, 17 and 
used to half-walk and half-run to school in order to get there "in 
time to play bullpen for half an hour before books." 18 

It would be a mistake to think that Ben's days on the farm were 
all play. According to Congressman Butterworth, himself raised 
on a farm in southern Ohio, 

Ben Harrison's experiences were just like ours. He was a farmer's 
boy, lived in a little farm house, had to hustle out of bed between 
4 and 5 o'clock in the morning the year round to feed stock, get ready 
to drop corn or potatoes, or rake hay by the time the sun was up. He 
knew how to feed the pigs, how to teach a calf how to drink milk out 
of a bucket, could harness a horse in the dark, and do all the things 
we, as farmers' boys, knew how to do. He used to go to the mill on a 
sack of wheat or corn and balance it over the horse's back by getting 
on one end of it, holding on to the horse's mane while he was going 
up hill, and feeling anxious about the results. 19 

This farmer-legislator knowingly added that "Ben had the usual 
number of stone bruises and stubbed toes and the average num- 
ber of nails in his foot that fell to the portion of the rest of us." 

15 House Document No. 154, p. 94. 

16 Lew Wallace, Life of Gen. Ben Harrison, p. 52. 

17 Weisenburger, op. cit., p. 122: "For the young the school rivaled the home as a 
center of social activity. In the period before school, at recesses, and during the 
lunch period, games were a natural outlet for youthful energy. Pupils of various 
ages played scatter base, prisoner's base, stink base, poison, wood-dog and old witch. 
The older boys found fun in three corner cat and town ball. The latter was an early 
type of baseball, employing a ball made by taking a core of India rubber, wrapping 
it with a strong woolen yarn wound into a tight mass, and having a shoemaker 
cover the whole with leather. In winter of course snowballs and breast works of 
snow and ice permitted expression of the pugnacious spirit of growing boys." 

18 Letter from Congressman Butterworth, cited in House Document No. 154, 
P- 93- 


John Scott Harrison's house fronted the Ohio River; the din- 
ing room, which was the common sitting room, was large and 
commodious, with the usual wide open fireplace. In this room it 
was the custom of the family to assemble, particularly on winter 
evenings, around a central table. Light was obtained from the 
old-fashioned tallow dips, aided by flame from the fireplace, in 
front of which the mother would sit knitting socks for the boys 
and listening to the conversation, or the reading, of the younger 
folks. 20 

The number of socks to be darned and the number of little 
dresses to be made increased with amazing regularity while Ben 
was growing up. Besides his older brother Irwin and himself, Ben 
had two older sisters, Bessie and Sallie, 21 who helped feed and 
care for the new arrivals at The Point. Succeeding Ben in the 
roughly hewn cradle were Mary Jane Irwin, who soon answered 
to the affectionate name of Jennie, and then Anna Symmes and 
John Irwin though the last two died in infancy. Before Mrs. 
John Scott Harrison died in 1850, five more children were born, 
but only Carter Bassett, Anna, and John Scott, Jr., survived and 
grew to maturity. 22 In addition to their own children, the John 
Scott Harrisons were constantly entertaining hordes of nephews 
and nieces, 23 and in 1848 they assumed the guardianship of two 
more children. 24 

20 J. E. Morison and W. B. Lane, Life of Our President Benjamin Harrison (Pub- 
lished for Lane and Morison, Cincinnati, 1889), p. 105. 

21 Benjamin's two older sisters were by John Scott Harrison's first wife. Betsey 
Short Harrison married George S. Eaton, M.D., who had his practice in Cincinnati. 
"Sallie" was Sarah Lucretia Harrison, who married Thomas J. Devin of Ottumwa, 
Iowa. See Charles Keith, The Ancestry of Benjamin Harrison (Philadelphia, 1893), 
for genealogical chart. 

22 This Anna, also called Anna Symmes, was named in honor of John Scott's 
mother, who was still living. The two other children who did not survive their first 
years were named James Findlay Harrison and James Irwin Harrison. 

23 Several of John Scott's nieces and nephews lived nearby. They visited their 
uncle's farm frequently, and as they grew up they attended the log-cabin school. See 
Wallace, op. cit., p. 50. 

24 This guardianship is mentioned three times in the Harrison and Short Family 
Papers. In the John Scott Harrison Papers, Box i, under date of November 2, 1848, 
is the following: "This is to certify that I, Mary R. Harrison, now residing in the 
parish of Point Coupee in the state of Louisiana ... do hereby resign the guardian- 
ship as natural to my minor children, Benjamin and William Henry Harrison, and 
desire that Mr. John Scott Harrison of Hamilton Co., Ohio, be appointed their 
guardian." See also John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, March 20, 186*, Short 
Family Papers, Box rg, and E. I. Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, Feb. 9, 1848, 
Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


The problem of education could have become acute, had not 
a small, old-fashioned log schoolhouse been erected between the 
Harrison homestead and the river. This cabin was of the plainest 
type. It had a puncheon floor and the windows were small and 
few; the great fireplace, filled with logs in the morning, would 
keep the school warm all day; for seats there were benches with- 
out backs, formed of slabs with supports of sticks fitted in auger- 
holes. In these primitive surroundings Benjamin began his edu- 
cation. 25 

Though the supply of teachers was limited, the Harrison home 
always employed a tutor or a nurse who guaranteed that the 
ABC's would not be neglected. The first of these was Miss Harriet 
Root, the young and competent niece of a Cincinnati preacher. 26 
When the children were quite small, Miss Root was their gover- 
ness; she advanced with them and took her place as mentor in the 
log-cabin schoolhouse. 27 

Attractive Harriet Root had Irwin, John, Ben, and Jennie to 
teach from the beginning; later, Betsy joined her class. Her recol- 
lections of Ben are of considerable value, giving, as they do, one 
of the earliest pen sketches of the future Hoosier warrior: 

Ben was the brightest of the family, and even when five years old 
was determined to go ahead in everything. He was very much ahead 
of his older brother, Irwin, but I held him back at the mother's re- 
quest. Ben was terribly stubborn about many things. He would insist 
upon having his own way not only with me, but with his mother. I 
remember of having but one serious trouble with him, and even then 
I did not conquer him. I did not wish to punish him severely, but I 
turned him over to his mother. She corrected him and he came back 
quite submissive, and never gave me any more trouble. 28 

She was succeeded by Joseph Porter, a college graduate, who be- 
came a fast friend of John Scott and remained with the family a 

25 Morison and Lane, op. cit. f pp. 105-6; also, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July i, 
1888. "The old school house collapsed" in July, 1848; see Jenny Harrison to Benja- 
min, July 24, 1848, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

26 Gilbert L. Harney, The Lives of Benjamin Harrison and Levi P. Morton 
(Providence, 1888), pp. 38-39. 

27 Fifty-six years later, Mrs. Harriet Root Giesy admitted that she "was dazed 
with the idea of going into the family as a teacher, as I was but 16 years old. As I 
look back upon it now I wonder that my mother consented." Unidentified press 
clipping, Harrison MSS. 

28 This was a special dispatch to the New York World dated Aug. 28 (year un- 
known, but evidently during Harrison's presidency) from Columbus, Ohio. This 
newspaper clipping was found in the Harrison home, Indianapolis. 


long time. 29 His classroom observations on Ben's academic prog- 
ress moved him to second John Scott's intention of sending Ben 
to one "of the yankee colleges." 80 Familiar with the curricula of 
the eastern colleges, Mr. Porter told John Scott that he hoped 
whether Ben "graduates from Harvard or Yale, that he will take 
the University course at the former, for the law school at Harvard 
is certainly unequalled in the country." 31 After Mr. Porter came 
Mr. Skinner, a graduate of Marshall College, Pennsylvania. 82 Yet 
it was the face of Thomas Lynn that lingered longest in Ben's 
memory. 33 

Ben's learning was not restricted to the "wearisome and hard 
benches" 34 or to the assignments given by his tutors; fortunately, 
as a favorite of his grandparents, he could learn much at North 
Bend, his second home. For many The Bend was already a patriot- 
ic shrine of the Middle West where old soldiers and distinguished 
strangers rubbed shoulders while greeting "Old Tippecanoe." 35 
As one renowned itinerant minister has recorded, in writing of 
William Henry Harrison and North Bend, "of his urbanity and 
genial hospitality and kindness, I entertain the most grateful rec- 
ollections. " 3<J Many of the long, long line of visitors entertained 
by General Harrison before his death Ben was too young to re- 
member, yet to the timeless heritage of his grandfather's extensive 
library he was a willing heir. 

Under the keen eye of a devoted mother "who sought to pro- 
vide good books, and loved to hear her children read and talk 
about their studies," 37 it is not likely that Ben was long kept in 
ignorance of the books at North Bend. There were histories of 
Greece and Rome, Caesar's Commentaries, Plutarch's Lives, but 

29 On one occasion John Scott Harrison had to borrow $100 to pay Mr. Porter, 
"my teacher." See his letter to John Cleves Short, January 23, 1844, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. 

so Joseph N. Porter to John Scott Harrison, January 19, 1850, John Scott Harri- 
son Papers, a single box in the Benjamin Harrison collection. 

32 Harney, op. cit. t p. 39. 

33 Indianapolis Journal, June 30, 1888, Scrapbook No. 6, p. 4, Harrison MSS; 
also, Wallace, op. cit. f p. 52. Wallace says his name was Flynn. The secret of Ben's 
fondness for Thomas Lynn has died with Lew Wallace. No written record has been 
discovered among the Harrison papers. 

34 These were Ben's own recollections. Indianapolis Journal, June, 1888. 

35 Green, op. cit. f p. 415. 

36 Timothy Flint, Recollections of the Past Ten Years (Boston, 1826), p. 50. 

37 Harney, op. cit. f p. 40. 


the greater portion of the library was devoted to American his- 
tory and biography, including the lives of Washington by Mar- 
shall and by Jared Sparks. There was no fiction. As far as the 
family tradition goes, General Harrison never read a novel. 88 

It is not at all likely that the General failed to share his books 
with young Ben, for he gave him much of his rather valuable 
time. There is one incident which occurred shortly after William 
Henry Harrison's election to the presidency that bears retelling 
for the light it sheds on their relationship and Ben's youth. Back 
on The Point farm where the orchards were prolific, the apple 
crop used to afford Ben great loot and much pleasure. As it was, 
some argued that apple-stealing back in the '40*8 was regarded 
almost a civic virtue. Apples for boys like Ben seem to have been 
as much of an inspiration as hard cider for the men, and the im- 
pression was popular that, no matter where they were found, they 
were common property and appropriate emblems of patriotic fer- 
vor. Such a delusion Ben carried with him on a trip to Cincinnati, 
in company with his grandfather, shortly before the latter left 
for the White House. The eight-year-old, early becoming tired 
from walking the streets and growing more than a mite hungry, 
could not resist the temptation presented by i stand highly piled 
with red-cheeked apples, and so began to fill his pockets just as 
he was wont to do under the favorite trees of his father's orchard 
(or anyone else's). Of course, there was no resistance to this till 
the apple-woman saw him walk innocently and unconcernedly 
away. Her shrieks called the attention of the grandfather to the 
comical situation and the account was readily adjusted. Young 
Ben went on munching his fruit with as much satisfaction as 
if its possession had not at first involved a question of law and 
morals. 89 

Presbyterianism flourished in southwestern Ohio during the 
first half of the nineteenth century, 40 although the nearest church 

38 Green, op. cit., p. 429. Lew Wallace, Harrison's "official campaign biographer," 
says (pp. 54-55) that "at the call of the children there was notably an edition of 
Scott's novels." He also notes that "the son Benjamin can scarcely remember the 
time that he was not enthralled by Waverly, the Scottish tales, and the eastern 
romances. He pored over them diligently. Ivanhoe and Talisman were sources of 
indefinite fascination to him." 

39 James P. Boyd, op. cit. f p. 28. 

40 Weisenburger, op. cit., pp. 175 ff. 


to The Point was the edifice constructed in 1822 at Cleves, Ohio, 
where services were held fortnightly. Grandma Anna Harrison's 
$2.00 subscription and William Henry Harrison's 1,500 feet of 
walnut helped build the structure in which the preacher was ad- 
vised to drop his Latin and Greek quotations and "to shoot low 
and aim straight." 41 The next nearest Presbyterian church was 
located at Lawrenceburg, five miles from North Bend, and it 
was here that Henry Ward Beecher was called to his first pastor- 
ate. 42 

Poor roads and the long distance frequently made it impos- 
sible for any of the Harrisons to attend services, yet each mem- 
ber of the family knew that Sundays were days apart. When 
Benjamin was small, the Harrison tribe, as well as their neigh- 
bors, observed the Sabbath with great scrupulousness, and "were 
forcibly reminded of the emptiness of all earthly pleasures and 
hopes." 43 The day was spent quietly, ordinary pursuits being 
abandoned, even letter-writing, 44 so that the call of the spirit 
might the better be heeded. The children's recollections of the 
day were far from somber or depressing. On the contrary, the 
young ones looked forward to Sunday afternoons, when "all as- 
sembled in the parlor and sung hymns from four o'clock until 
bed-time." 45 

When it was possible for any members of the family to make 
the trip to attend the Cleves Presbyterian church, they received 
an earthly reward in the form of an invitation to dinner at their 
grandparents' home. 46 Perhaps Young Ben and his brothers and 
sisters accepted the invitation with mixed emotions. They were 
delighted to see the table loaded with chicken and ham, and all 
kinds of nice pies and cakes, yet Mrs. Harrison's fixed habit 

41 Green, op. cit., p. 444. 

42 Ibid., p. 445. The Beechers were famous in Cincinnati. Lyman Beecher was not 
only President of Lane, the Presbyterian Seminary, but was also pastor of the largest 
Presbyterian church in the city. 

43 Sallie Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, February 8, 1851, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 
It is also evident from this letter that the children desired to attend church regu- 
larly, and were awaiting the completion of a new church and the appointment of a 
permanent minister. 

44 Jennie Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, November *6, 1849, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. i: "It is Sunday and if I were not writing to my brother ... I would not feel 
altogether right in doing so." 

45 Sallie Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, February 8, 1851, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

46 Ibid., see also Green, op. cit., p. 446. 


of evening Bible reading 47 was not nearly so much fun as the 

Ben did not need to attend church services in order to be im- 
pressed with the importance of prayer. From his earliest recol- 
lections until his devoted mother's untimely death in 1850, he 
heard her daily prayer: "May God bless you and keep you con- 
tinually under His protecting care." 48 After fifteen years of dis- 
cipline, tempered by prayers and understanding, Ben Harrison 
knew what was right, and it was no little consolation for him to 
receive, after a few weeks' absence from home, the following letter 
from his mother: 

. . . you may imagine my anxiety to hear how you get along with 
those bad boys . . . after your Pa told me how badly they were be- 
having I hardly close my eyes to sleep for I felt that boys that could 
behave so badly, could be capable of any act. Don't fail to let us hear 
from you very often . . . and continue to act with that same propriety 
that you have heretofore . . . you don't know how thankful I feel to 
have such good sons and how proud I am that your teachers, and 
everyone, speak of your conduct in such high terms. I pray for you 
daily that you may be kept from sinning and straying from the paths 
of duty. 49 

By the fall of 1847 Jhn Scott Harrison had determined that 
his two older boys, Irwin, 16, and Benjamin, 14, should have 
the advantages of a college education, though his first problem 
was securing for them an essentially sound secondary school train- 
ing. He finally decided upon Farmers' College, 50 a small insti- 
tution located in Walnut Hills, a section of the city of Cin- 
cinnati. 51 This decision taxed Scott Harrison heavily, and to his 
brother-in-law he confided: "Sending the boys to Gary's last week 
consumed all my ready capital. But I have corn and hay . . . both 
of which are cash articles in Lawrenceburg. . . ," 52 It was a sacri- 

47 Cleaves, op. cit., p. 332. 

48 E. I. Harrison to Irwin and Benjamin, February 9, 1848, Harrison MSS. 

49 E. I. Harrison to Irwin and Benjamin, July 24, 1848, Harrison MSS. 

BO Farmers' College was founded upon an endowment of land and money do- 
nated by William Cary, and for a long time bore the name Gary's Academy. New 
York Evening Post, dipping marked Dec., 1888, in Benjamin Harrison Scrap Book 
No. 9, Harrison MSS. 

51 Boyd, op. cit., p. 28. 

52 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, November 10, 1847, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. John Scott apologized for not being able to pay even the small 
portion of the money he owed to Short, but he promised to raise the balance of the 
three years' interest immediately and with great pleasure. 


fice he never regretted, and one for which Ben became increas- 
ingly grateful. 58 

The President of the College, Dr. Freeman G. Gary, son of 
the founder, was a man of strong character. As principal of Gary's 
Academy, out of which Farmers' College grew, he had earned his 
reputation as an educator of boys. 54 His brother, Samuel Fenton 
Gary, was equally well known as a temperance advocate. 55 Among 
the young students, however, it was Dr. Freeman Gary who came 
in for the most discussion. To their possibly biased minds his 
reputation as a strict disciplinarian was certainly merited. And 
as might be suspected under like conditions today, the horseplay 
of the students kept his disciplinary talents in constant exercise. 
The root of the difficulty was twofold: the school buildings were 
located on the Gary Farm, and the president himself was a cele- 
brated horticulturist. This situation did not make for harmony, 
for Mr. Gary's fine orchard of plums, cherries, apples and pears, 
which adjoined the college grounds, was subject to frequent raids 
by the boys. 56 

In this mischief, Murat Halstead, Oliver W. Nixon and Joseph 
G. McNutt were ringleaders and the newly admitted freshman, 
Benjamin Harrison, was allowed to share in the perils and profits 
of these forays. As a result there was a state of belligerency exist- 
ing between the president and the students, which led to frequent 
chapel lectures and repeated threats of expulsion. Sometimes the 
president would act on mere suspicion or misinformation fur- 
nished by the janitor and, when the boys would be apprehended 
and exonerated by a scotch verdict, there would follow profuse 
apologies in the chapel from the president and jubilations in 
the south wing, where the Halstead-Harrison crowd had their 
rooms. 57 

The president, being a man of hot and cold fits, was good game 
for the young collegians. Weekly prayer meetings were held in his 
room. It was not an unusual thing, when a good brother would 

58 Indianapolis Journal, June 29, 1888 (?), in Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook 
No. 6, entitled "1888: Speeches of Harrison; Biographical/' p. 3. 
5* New York Evening Post, loc. cit. 

55 Weisenburger, op. cit., p. 163. Samuel Fenton Gary was an officer of The Na- 
tional Division of the Sons of Temperance. 

56 This account was given by W. P. Fishback in the New York Evening Post, 
Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, pp. 1-2, Harrison MSS. 

.; also, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July i, 1888. 


be in the midst of a lengthy prayer, for somebody to start a keg 
filled with boulders rolling down the stairway, which was in the 
hall adjoining the room where the meeting was in progress. All 
was dark on the upper floor while this was going on, and when 
the soft-footed president ascended and applied his ear to the key- 
hole, the snoring of the occupants gave emphatic testimony to 
their innocence. While these incidents served as pleasant diver- 
sions in college life, young "Master" 58 Harrison was quickly in- 
troduced to the more serious side of academic life. 

The really strong man on the college faculty was not President 
Freeman G. Gary, but the one next in seniority, a venerable and 
lovable professor whom all College Hill Gary, the faculty, 
and the students regarded as "our beloved Father." 59 He was 
Dr. Robert Hamilton Bishop, an Edinburgh Scot, who came to 
America -and the West when he was a young man. It was his spirit 
that guided the formulation of institutional policy: "The gov- 
ernment will be mild but firm," said Dr. Bishop, "essentially pa- 
rental in character ... It will be taken for granted that every 
youth and young man is honest . . . that he has entered the In- 
stitution to improve, and the last thing questioned will be his 
integrity." 60 These were the epitome of Bishop's philosophy of 
education and of life. 

When Ben first met him, Dr. Bishop was in the twilight of his 
career, having already served for twenty years as a professor at 
Transylvania University, 61 Lexington, Kentucky, and another 
twenty years as president of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. 
Consequently, when he joined the faculty of Farmers' College 
in 1846, he brought with him a wide reputation for scholarship 
and for those warm qualities of sympathy and considerate atten- 
tion that had won for him the respect and love of thousands of 
his students. 62 Within two years of his death, James Mathews, 

58 Both Mrs. Harrison and Ben's sister addressed their letters to Master B. Harri- 
son, once he left home for Pleasant Hill. See letters of 1848 and 1849, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. i, passim. 

59 James H. Rodabaugh, Robert Hamilton Bishop (Columbus, Ohio, 1935), 
p. 161. 

60 A. B. Huston, Historical Sketch of Farmers' College (Cincinnati, 1902), p. 56; 
Rodabaugh, op. cit., p. 166. 

61 Transylvania was founded in 1780. See article in New York Evening Post, by 
Fishback, Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS. 

62 Rodabaugh, op. cit. f pp. 76-77. 


Chancellor of the University of the City of New York, felt safe 
in saying of Dr. Bishop that "he had a more important agency in 
that of directing the educational interests of the West, than any 
other man who lived during the same period." 63 

After three years of intimate association and diligent study 
under Dr, Bishop's direction, Benjamin Harrison who was one 
of fifty who recited with him each day 64 added his voice to an 
ever-swelling chorus of praise and gratitude. As he was leaving 
Farmers' College, Ben penned the following note to the Doctor: 

Having for some years enjoyed the benefit of your instruction, and 
being now about to pass from under your care, I would be truly un- 
grateful were I not to return my warmest thanks for the lively in- 
terest you have ever manifested in my welfare and advancement in 
religious as well as scientific knowledge. 65 

At Farmers' College, Bishop continued to teach the subjects 
which had so attracted him while studying at Edinburgh. Occu- 
pying the chair of history and political economy, 66 he poured into 
the minds of the impressionable young men a philosophy preg- 
nant with a spirit of liberalism and progressivism, and with a 
fervent and reasonable love of liberty, truth and virtue. 67 His 
broad knowledge, his youthful enthusiasm in old age, and his 
personal interest in each student attracted a great following. 68 

Upon Bishop's arrival at College Hill, the curriculum was lib- 
eralized to a considerable extent and students were allowed a 
much wider choice of subjects. Course selection was based, as the 
old professor used to say, on a "scale of equivalents." If a student 
were averse to tackling Greek or the difficult mathematics, he 
could avoid one of them by taking "an equivalent" in Doctor 
Bishop's classes. These "equivalent" classes were then unique, 
and very attractive to boys who thought that in this way they 
might work along the lines of least resistance. Bishop, how- 
ever, had a way of fooling them. For example, the textbooks for 
the current history class were the public documents which the 

63 Cited in Rodabaugh, op. cit., p. 169. 

64 Huston, op. cit., p. 56. 

65 Benjamin Harrison to Dr. R. H. Bishop, August 28, 1850, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

66 Huston, op. cit., p. 56. 

6T Weisenburger, op. cit., p. 175. His sixth chapter on "Religion and Education" 
is well done. 

68 Rodabaugh, op. cit. f p. 187. 


old students of Transylvania and Miami Universities, who were 
in Congress, would dump upon the old doctor by the carload. 
"Here, Harrison," he would say, "take this report of the Com- 
missioner on Indian Affairs and give us at the next recitation the 
leading facts as to the present condition of the Indians." 69 And 
so he would apportion to the boys the reports of the War Depart- 
ment, the Treasury, and so on, and at the next recitation short 
essays would be read, followed by criticism from the doctor. He 
was avid for facts, and frequently explained to his boys that, 
"Other things being equal, that man will succeed best in any 
given work who has the most facts." 70 

In his three years with this eminently progressive preceptor, 
Ben was impressed with the doctor's formula for learning. "Edu- 
cation," Bishop maintained, "is getting possession of your mind, 
so you can use facts as the good mechanic uses his tools." 71 Rules 
for expression, moreover, were of primary importance with this 
Scottish sage. He was averse to floridity of style. One of Ben's 
classmates, Ed Straight, had been assigned the Cuban question. 
For his recitation the anxious sophomore wrote a rhapsody about 
the "Queen of the Antilles." The old doctor's criticism was: "Not 
enough facts, and too much declamation." 72 It may well be that 
Harrison's own severe classical style, particularly during the ear- 
lier period of his public life, stems from the training he had 
under Bishop. 

Aside from his value as a professor, Bishop's presence was a 
powerful stimulus to the college. Hailed by the students as the 
"patriot," the "sage," and the incarnation of "college spirit," 78 
he was at last asked by President Freeman Gary to formulate a 
new policy of discipline. 74 In response to this request the seventy- 
year-old educator introduced a disciplinary system that was novel 
in its day. The general policy in most colleges was rather harsh 

69 These facts are culled from the New York Evening Post article by Fishback, 
Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS. 
TO ibid. 

73 "Bishop became sort of a loyalty for the school; the love and admiration for 
him while he lived, and for his memory after his death took place of college flag 
and colors. In 1850 measures were begun to create in his honor the Bishop Profes- 
sorship. . . . The alumni built a small cottage home for Bishop and his wife. It 
became a landmark in the tradition of the school after his death." Rodabaugh, 
op. cit. f p. 165. 

. 166. 


and arbitrary. In the western schools of higher learning paddling 
and other forms of corporal punishment were still quite com- 
mon. Bishop, however, had inherited a more democratic spirit 
from his associations in Scotland, and he took pains to recognize 
his students as men, as his political and social equals. Conse- 
quently, the policy he had declared at Miami University, and the 
one he now drew up for Farmers' College, read as follows: "The 
general principle of government of this Institution is: that every 
young man who wishes to be a scholar, and expects to be useful 
as a member of a free community, must at a very early period of 
life acquire the power of self-government." 75 With this attitude 
Bishop won Benjamin's respect and love, and consequently he 
had over the future president a power and influence which few 
professors or teachers are able to exert over those whom they 

In 1896, with a wisdom born of age and experience, Benjamin 
Harrison reflected significantly on the value of his early school- 
ing. 76 He was thoroughly convinced that the "seeds of knowl- 
edge" ought first be planted at the tender age of eighteen months, 
and that the wise parent should not neglect the child until the 
average school-going age of six or seven years. Granted that dur- 
ing most of the intervening time the youngster is a scholar with- 
out opinions and without doubts, he nevertheless maintained 
that the early and individual attention was most desirable. 77 

Harrison's point was plain. He knew from experience that boys 
and girls needed at some time during their young lives the help- 
ing hand of an adult "chum," a teacher who could converse with 
them and bring into the open their hidden talents. Admitted, he 
said, that the "average youngster is lectured, teased, chaffed and 
petted; that he has had some moral and religious precepts im- 
parted to him," the one important question to be asked is: "Has 
any man or woman had a conversation with the boy?" 78 

75 MM., pp. 76-77. 

76 Benjamin Harrison, Views of an Ex-President (Indianapolis, 1901), pp. 419- 
25. This book, compiled by Mary Lord Harrison, his second wife, is a collection of 
Harrison's addresses and writings on subjects of public interest after the close of his 

77 ibid. 






w 2 
J c 

f^ S 

^ 4J 


H Jp 




From a Painting in Harmon Memorial Home 



From a Painting m Harrison Memorial Home 



Perhaps he was thinking o himself and his days under Doctor 
Bishop when he gave the following illustration: 

Consider the case of a boy. He has been brought into a vast workshop, 
where the most subtle forces and the most intricate mechanisms are 
humming and whirling; into a vast picture gallery where thousands 
of canvases, great and small, are hung; into a great auditorium where 
on many stages clowns and tragedians are acting and reciting. He 
needs help; for a habit that will influence, yes control, his intellectual 
life is now being acquired. Is he to have a wandering or a fixed eye; 
a habit of attention or of mental dissipation? 79 

Young Ben found his help, his "fixed eye," his influential edu- 
cational force at Farmers' College, and, if one may judge from 
his splendid collection of essays and compositions written for 
Dr. Bishop, 80 it is abundantly clear that he discovered in this 
venerable septuagenarian an adult companion with whom he 
was to have many a serious conversation. In later life Harrison 
was fond of quoting Montaigne's observation by way of contrast 
with his own good fortune: " 'Tis the custom of school masters 
to be eternally thundering in their pupils' ears, as though they 
were pouring into a funnel. ... I would not have him alone to 
invent and speak, but that he should also hear his pupils in re- 
turn." 81 Ben glibly added his own comment: "The tank may be 
full, but if there is no tap how shall we draw from it?" 82 

Ben Harrison's first steps along the path to higher learning 
were guided by the widely read and practical-minded Bishop, a 
man who never permitted his academic charges to forget one im- 
portant principle: When you speak publicly or privately, say 
something people will care to remember. Harrison was one 
charge who made this principle his own. Not only was he 
successful in fashioning state papers, lectures and speeches 
that were distinctive for ' 'clear, vigorous language and sound 

, pp. 420-21. 

80 Benjamin Harrison Papers, Vol. i, Nos. 83-143, contain over seventy pages of 
Harrison's essays, compositions, and sermons in their original manuscript form, all 
written for Dr. Bishop. 

81 Benjamin Harrison, op. tit., p. 423. 


thinking," 83 but even his casual conversations were remembered 
as remarkably worth while. 84 

While concise logic characterized his later public utterances, 
the young Harrison had to learn the hard way. Under Bishop's 
exacting eye he worked through the dry bones of Colonial and 
later American history. These courses, Bishop insisted, were in- 
tended to train the lawyer, the soldier and the statesman of the 
next generation. Consequently, the elderly professor's courses 
were thoroughly detailed and equally demanding. Indeed, the 
opening classes were more than trying, but the young Harrison 
was a willing subject. 

Once young Ben got past his recitation on "The Character of 
the Men Who Made the First Discoveries in America," he'found 
that the grind had just begun. He was required to spend long 
hours digging out salient facts on "The First Settlement of Mary- 
land and Massachusetts." 85 In an era when college outlines were 
home-made, and short-cuts to knowledge were frowned upon, 
Ben spent long hours in an inadequately equipped library. He 
terminated his researches on the Colonies with the conclusion 
that: "The Puritan may be considered as the source from which 
all our republican principles have sprung and as such should be 
remembered by us with the deepest gratitude and love." 86 

Master Harrison was assigned a long period of study on the 
knotty problems of the American Revolution and its military 
and naval aftermath, the War of 1812. Minutely detailed lists of 
American generals, colonels and captains had to be drawn up 
one day; on the next, a similar list of British officers. During daily 
class recitation that followed, the causes of the war, battles, with 
exact geographical locations and results, were discussed in de- 
tail. 87 Ben was learning early the value of marshaling and inter- 
preting facts. 

83 Henry L. Stoddard, As I Knew Them: Presidents and Politics from Grant to 
Coolidge (New York, 1927), p. 167: "Harrison's state papers and his subsequent 
lectures are an interpretation of national problems and purpose unsurpassed for 
sturdy patriotism. . . ." 

84 John L. Griffith's recollection of Harrison in the Western Inter-Ocean, March 

86 Composition No. 2 for Dr. Bishop, Benjamin Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

87 Composition Nos. 3-8 for Dr. Bishop, Benjamin Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


Inasmuch as Bishop was one of the first in the United States 
to have and to teach a systematic social philosophy, 88 it is not 
surprising that he was no less demanding with his assignments in 
the field of social relations. When Ben was assigned a composi- 
tion on "Some of the Leading Differences in the Modes of Liv- 
ing, Labor and Enjoyment of the Comforts of Life in a Savage 
and a Highly Advanced State of Society," he made some shrewd 
observations for a sixteen-year-old, the bulk of which character- 
ized his later thinking and chivalrous conduct. Perhaps Bishop 
smiled when Ben reported: 

The manner by which women are treated is good criterion to judge 
of the true state of society. If we knew but this one feature in a char- 
acter of a nation, we may easily judge of the rest, for as society ad- 
vances, the true character of woman is discovered . . . and appre- 
ciated. . . . Look at the position woman occupies in this country, in- 
stead of being regarded as a slave far beneath the dignity of man, she 
is considered a superior being, and in the eyes of many an angel, this 
is however, the case only when we behold them through the telescope 
of love, which like all other telescopes has the power of magnifying 
objects, and perhaps this possesses the power to a greater degree than 
any other, but whether we behold them through this glass or any 
other, she still appears worthy of the exalted position which she oc- 
cupies. 89 

Shortly after his nomination as the Republican presidential 
candidate in June 1888, the searchlight of inquiry was turned 
on Harrison's private life. Was he rich? Had he accumulated 
great wealth in property? When the facts were made public, his 
good name was none the worse for the inquiry. One paragraph 
in the daily press summed up the findings: 

General Harrison is generous to a fault. Whether public or private, 
a meritorious charity has rarely appealed to him in vain. He has given 
away money by hundreds, even thousands of dollars, year after year, 
and the result is that, though always having a good income from his 
profession, he has accumulated comparatively little property. The 
needs of friends, the calls for political expenses, church expenses, 

88 Rodabaugh, op. cit., p. 187. The author claims that, if anyone deserves such 
acclaim, Bishop might well be designated the "father of American Sociology" be- 
cause he carried to America the social philosophy of Ferguson as it was interpreted 
and expanded according to the liberal and somewhat revolutionary principles of 

89 Composition No. 9 for Dr. Bishop, Benjamin Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


church charities, and the thousand and one benevolences which never 
fail to find a liberal man, have prevented much accumulation.^ 

This generous disposition was a growth and the seed was plant- 
ed early in Harrison. Knowing his father's good nature, and the 
ministerial background of Bishop, his preceptor, it is not surpris- 
ing to read that Ben in a prep-school exercise wrote that the "Cre- 
ator planted certain principles within the human heart," and 
that "one of the most powerful of these is that which prompts us 
to sympathize with suffering humanity." He added significantly 
that the "Creator did not design that they [the principles] should 
lie dormant, and if we suffer them to be hidden in our bosom, we 
must certainly suffer the penalty." 91 

Although Professor Bishop exercised his students in the art 
of biographical writing, young Ben had little talent along those 
lines. 92 Yet, in his third year at College Hill he came up with an 
interesting essay on "The Qualifications Necessary to Form a 
Good Historian." If a man did not have "good hard common 
sense," Ben claimed, it was impossible "to make a good historian 
out of him." To this natural qualification Harrison added sound 
judgment, selection of details, suitable perseverance and indus- 
try. In his conclusion he gives the key to his own later character- 
istic of study and research: "Before a man can do justice to any 
subject he must be entirely conversant with that subject, thus it 
is with the historian, he must study his subject until he can truly 
say he has mastered it." 93 

The field of politics, and particularly the presidential election 
of 1848, afforded Harrison ample opportunity for composition in 
a subject in which he was vitally interested. The three-cornered 
fight for the presidency in 1848 moved his pen to spell out strong 
sentiments against the Free Soilers, a coalition party which nomi- 
nated Martin Van Buren to run on a platform of "Free Soil, free 

o Indianapolis Journal, July i, 1888. 

l This was Composition No. 13, entitled "A Statement of the Obligation under 
which Every Man is 10 Give Assistance to the Poor and Needy According as God 
Has Prospered Him." In still another essay (No. 15) Harrison wrote "that only in 
the Noble Will of God could we have the welfare and the benefit we do." Harrison 
MSS, Vol. i. 

92 The two attempted biographical sketches made by Harrison do not read 
smoothly. See Compositions No. 14 2- d 18 for Dr. Bishop, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 
In keeping with his times, Harrison wrote in full florid style. 

93 Composition No. 15 for Dr. Bishop, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


speech, free labor and free men." 94 "Old Van" was distinctly a 
used-up man in comparison with the Democratic nominee, Cass 
of Michigan, or the Whig candidate, old Rough and Ready Tay- 
lor, hero of Buena Vista. Ben saw Van Buren's candidacy in an 
unfavorable light, and wrote: "Is it not a good example of the 
absurdity to which party spirit leads men, for those of the free 
soil faction, who were, in their saner moments, true Whigs, so to 
be blinded by party as to see in Martin Van Buren, instead of 
the traitor which he is, a man fit to fill the presidential chair?" 95 

Equally important with literary composition was the compan- 
ion subject, reading. In this connection Bishop taught the in- 
effable superiority of reading history over that of the novel. 00 
When Ben was required to express his views in this fi>ld, either 
from expediency or conviction he followed Bishop's line of rea- 
soning that novel reading was not only inferior but also produc- 
tive of evil. At the end of a long litany of purported ills that stem 
directly from contact with the novel, Harrison concluded that 
"It unfits the mind for close application to many subjects, and I 
have the authority of Doctor Bishop that it weakens the mind and 
if carried to excess will ultimately destroy it." 97 Then, plumbing 
the depth of his imaginative powers, Ben told this story which 
affords insight into a young mind developing rapidly: 

To impress more strongly upon your mind the bad effect of novel 
reading I will narrate an instance which came under my observa- 
tion while taking a tour in the East. There was a certain young man 
named Brown who followed the trade of shoe-making in a certain 
city through which it was my luck to pass ... he became by degrees 
so addicted to the damnable habit of novel reading that although he 
not only occupied his leisure moments in this way, but frequently en- 

04 Theodore Clark Smith has the best treatment in his Liberty and Free Soil 
Parties in the Northwest (New York, 1897). Cass of Michigan succeeded Polk as the 
Democratic candidate; the Whigs nominated General Taylor. The third party was 
formed by a coalition of three hitherto separate and hostile elements the Aboli- 
tionist-Liberty Party, the "conscience" or antislavery Whigs of New England, and 
the "Barnburner" faction of the New York Democracy, which came in to be re- 
venged on Cass for "stealing" the nomination from Van Buren. Van Buren did not 
carry a single state. 

95 Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

6 It was one of Bishop's pet pedagogical principles that "history was superior 
to romance" in every respect. Harrison's statement: Composition No. 2, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. i. 

97 Composition for the Society, No. 2, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


croached on his powers of labor . . . with the result that he sought 
everywhere for a Heloise ... he became acquainted with a female 
who had unfortunately been christened by that name and an intimacy 
soon sprung up between them. . . . 

Heloise was weak enough to consent to an interview with her ad- 
mirer. They met at the appointed place of rendezvous and after walk- 
ing for some time they found themselves in a retired spot . . . Brown 
stopped and drawing an awl from his bosom, embraced his sweetheart 
and exclaimed "Here, dear Heloise, we must die together." Saying 
this he struck the awl into her bosom and it must have proved fatal 
had it not stuck into the whale bone of her staves (which proves not- 
withstanding all that has been said to the contrary that her staves 
were useful to her). He followed this with eight more blows which 
inflicted as many wounds. He then attempted to kill himself and soon 
fell bathed in his own blood 

I will conclude by saying that the wounds were not mortal. Brown 
recovered to be a wise man and Heloise to repent her interview with 
the novel reader. 98 

Twelve years after he had left Farmers' College, Benjamin 
Harrison, after Lincoln's call for volunteers in July 1862, began 
a tour of duty as Colonel of the 7oth Indiana Regiment. To his 
wife he wrote: "I believe it is conceded now that our Regiment 
was the first into the field under the last call. We are proud of 
the position and hope to be the last to turn our backs to the en- 
emy"; 99 two days later he said: "Let the office and all its honors 
and emoluments go. I would not give up the consciousness that 
I am rendering humble service to my country in this hour of her 
sore trial for all the honors and riches of the land"; 100 and after 
three months under arms: "I love to feel [I am] in some humble 
way serving a country which has brought so many honors to my 
kindred and such untold blessings to those I love." 101 

Those sentiments spoken on the field of battle echo strongly 
the words he spoke and the spirit he imbibed at sixteen. He had 
handed in an essay on patriotism, the essential theme of which 
was: "True patriotism unmingled with base and selfish motives 
is one of the greatest virtues a man can possess. It is one of those 
few jewels which equally becomes the highest or the lowest. In 

88 Ibid. This is in Harrison's own handwriting; the paragraph division is the 

09 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, August 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 689-91. 

100 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, August 23, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 

101 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, October 9, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 719-20. 


the King or the peasant it shines brightest of all the gems which 
deck the royal diadem, and yet it scorns not the brow of the 
humblest." 102 Yet the seed that grew into the flower of 1862 was 
expressed in his own boyish language: 

Who would not exchange all the military glory of Napoleon or 
Alexander for the name of patriot? Whose ambition could ask more, 
whose aspirations be higher than to have his name handed down to 
posterity as a firm, unselfish, exampled patriot, one who holds the 
honor of his country above every other consideration and was ready 
at a moment's notice to sacrifice on his country's altar, his life, his 
property, his all? 108 

Before leaving the portals of Farmers' College, Ben gave evi- 
dence that Professor Bishop was not inactive in his pristine role 
of a Presbyterian minister. His students were required to write 
and preach "practice" sermons, and in many cases the young men 
set down what was to be the rule and measure of their lives. On 
one occasion Harrison set out to preach on a subject which was 
to be for him personally a perennial problem, declaring that 
"when a man suffers his business to occupy all his attention, then 
there is no room for religious contemplation, no time that can 
be devoted to the consideration of heavenly things." 104 And he 
might have added then, as he did a decade later, in a letter to his 
wife: "I feel now in the absorbing hold that my business had 
upon me for the last two years, I was wasting the higher part of 
my nature and neglecting those offices of love in my family that 
develop the heart and make others happy. I was too anxious to 
provide against bodily want, and was neglecting the cravings of 
the spirit." 105 

Home life at The Point had moved in its usual cycle, while 
Ben was away at school. Apart from vacation periods, the family 
did not see much of either Irwin or Ben, though they did slip 

102 The title was: "Of All the Generous and Ennobling Feelings which the Hu- 
man Mind is Capable of Generating, Patriotism Seems to Proceed from the Holiest 
and Highest Source." Composition No. 6, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

103 Ibid. 

104 Sermon No. s for Dr. Bishop, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. He also asked: "What 
does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The 
sermon scores the desire of earthly prosperity which diverts the mind from God. 

105 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, Dec. 4, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 755-58. 


home to lend a hand to the plow in spring and to work with the 
men in the fields at harvest time. 106 Frequent letters from Sallie, 
Anna and Jennie indicate how much the "young men" of the 
family were missed, especially on those pleasanter days free from 
farm labor and household duties when the family plotted a fish- 
ing expedition on the Ohio, 107 or when the Miami swarmed with 
wild ducks and rod and reel yielded to the rifle. 108 

One of the reasons for Ben's infrequent trips home was the 
continued financial embarrassment experienced by John Scott 
Harrison. 109 In the fall of 1849 "money was so tight" 110 that John 
Scott seriously doubted that he could afford to keep Irwin and 
Ben at Farmers' College. In addition to feeling the pinch of pov- 
erty, the father of the growing household almost sickened to see 
his young family laid low from time to time by prevalent epi- 
demics of cholera, smallpox, influenza, typhoid, dysentery, scarlet 
fever, and by the scourge of the common cold. Almost every letter 
Ben received brought news of illness and suffering, and in the 
sixth month of his departure from home he received the sad news 
that his baby brother, Findlay, had died. 111 

Despite the absence of money and the presence of suffering 
and sorrow, the family spirit was far from broken, or even low. 
For the family feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas Ben always 
found a way to get home. The Christmas of 1849 was particularly 
happy and memorable, though it was the last celebration at which 
the children would have their mother at the other end of the long 
dining-room table. In late November, Ben began to anticipate 
some of the joy of Christmas preparations. In a letter from sister 
Sallie he read: 

I expect you have almost despaired of hearing from me at all and 
indeed you have good reasons so thinking. But I have a pretty good 

106 Indianapolis Journal, June 30, 1888. 

107 Anna Harrison to Benjamin, September 14, 1849, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

108 Sallie Harrison to Benjamin, January 7, 1851, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

109 See letters of Sept. 14, 1849, October 7, 1849, and February, 1850, to Benjamin 
Harrison from his sisters Sallie and Jennie, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

no Anna Harrison to Benjamin, December 20, 1849, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

in E. I. Harrison to Irwin and Benjamin, February 9, 1848, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
i. Mrs. Harrison had to tell the boys that: "There has been a sad change in our 
family since dear Findlay was with us, and in perfect health; he is now in the silent 
tombbut his spirit is in heaven, when we think of that we can be reconciled to 
our loss, dear little fellow, he was a sweet child, may we all be prepared to follow 


excuse, for we have been so busy, Jennie and I, that we have scarcely 
a spare moment. I have been away from home so much that my sewing 
has collected so much, that it keeps me very busy, and we have such 
a miserable girl in the kitchen that it takes part of my time to prepare 
our meals. Well, drawing and preparing our Christmas presents con- 
sumes time also 112 

In the messages to her boys at school Mrs. Harrison consistently 
exhorted them to show care in choosing companions, to avoid 
the evils of idleness, to use leisure time for cultural interests. 118 
Nor was John Scott less vigilant, for when Ben decided that 
dormitory life would be more conducive to his advancement 
than boarding-house quarters, Ben's father wrote a letter which 
speaks for itself: 

I sometimes feel a bit more uneasiness about you than I did when 
your brother Irwin was with you and you were living in a private 
house. I feel too you are now more exposed to many temptations in- 
cident to a college life. And yet I believe you have firmness enough to 
resist evil influences no matter how flattering may be the garb in 
which they are presented. Let your actions always be governed by the 
same moral influences which were experienced over you when a lit- 
tle boy at home, and with God's help you are safe. I hope you never 
lose sight of your entire confidence in your Maker both morning and 
evening acknowledging your manifold obligations to Him. It is said 
of Mr. Adams that he never went to sleep without repeating the 
prayer his mother taught when he was a boy. . . , 114 

From a number of "complaints" contained in letters from The 
Point, Benjamin had more than one account to render for his 
conduct. Rank negligence in correspondence, consumption of 
"forbidden" cucumbers, and the smoking of "long" cigars called 
forth epistolary anathemas from various members of the family. 

112 Sallie to Master Benjamin Harrison, November 24, 1849, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
i. At Christmas time Ben was expected to play the part of Santa, and was told by 
John Scott that "Carter wants you to bring him some shooting crackers . . . Anna 
wants some candy for John Myers' children . . . Carter also wants some sky rockets 
... he sends a dollar. I think it will be poorly expended myself, but he claims it as 
his own property." John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, December 1850, Harrison 
MSS. Ben was expected to pick up these items in Cincinnati. See also letter of 
December 20, 1849, Anna to Benjamin. She sends him money for his trip home. 
Harrison MSS. 

H3 . i. Harrison to Irwin and Benjamin, February 9, May 22, and July 24, 
1848, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

114 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, December 10, 1849, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


One day Jennie would write; the next, Sallie. Soon, a whole series 
of postscripts carried dire threats and warnings. On July 23, 1848, 
Jennie wrote to Irwin: "Tell Benja if he don't write me, we will 
scratch him out of our books." This letter carried an interesting 
series of postscripts. Sallie began: 

I write these few lines by way of postscript, to give Ben a good 
lecture for not writing oftener, indeed three lines are all that have 
been received from him for a long, long while; it is a downright shame 
to neglect us all in this way, Jennie and I are always punctual about 
writing and of course we expect punctuality to be reciprocated . . . 

P.S. . . . Please don't take offense at my lecture, you know my dear 
boys it was all through a spirit of kindness that I made the foregoing 
remarks hoping that you would profit by the scolding. 

P.P.S Tell Ben Pa is quite hurt to think that he still continues 

to eat cucumbers notwithstanding his advice, and often said that he 
cannot account for his not writing, so if he wants to please his father 
he will change in this respect. 

A third postscript to this same letter by Mrs. Harrison un- 
doubtedly left its mark. In her maternal but insisting way she 

I intended writing you last evening, but was laid up with a sick 
headache . . . why has not Benjamin written? Let him answer and 
give us frequent letters to make up for his past neglect ... we feel 
constantly anxious about you. I hope you will be prudent in your 
diet and that Benja may abstain from cucumbers ... If Mrs. S. family 
don't keep them [sic] ask him to banish them from the table so that 
Ben may not be tempted. . . . May God bless my sons and take them 
beneath his kind care. 115 

When older sister Betsey, on a visit to College Hill, found Ben 
and Irwin puffing away on long cigars, the remonstrance that 
came from home was couched in language quite restrained. Anna 
wrote that "Pa thinks you are very young gentlemen to be acquir- 
ing so bad a habit." 118 

Under the great strain of his mother's untimely death and the 
reasoned decision to complete his studies at Miami University, 

115 Jennie Harrison to Irwin and Benjamin, July 23, 1848, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
i. The postscripts form part of this letter. 

lie Anna Harrison to Benjamin, June 5, 1850, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


Oxford, Ohio, Ben, just having turned seventeen, sat down and 
wrote a long letter on August 28, 1850, to Doctor Bishop: 

Your kind letter expressing your sympathy with us under our mul- 
tiplied afflictions was received some weeks since and I should have 
returned my sincere thanks for your well-wishes and good advice ere 
this, but that your letter came at a time when all my thoughts cen- 
tered around, as most of my time was spent, around the death bed of 
a dear mother, and the curtain of death having at last closed the 
touching scene, and the first violent outbreaks of grief having sub- 
sided, a minor affliction in the shape of a poisoned right hand pre- 
vented my using my pen. . . . 

Ben went on to explain that Irwin and three other members of 
the family had been laid low with dysentery, and "the hand of 
God has indeed been pressing sorely on our little household." 

The triple death of mother, her baby, and a younger brother 
profoundly affected Ben's thinking, and in this same letter he 
noted that "But a short time since they were well with a hold 
upon life which appeared to be strong and now they are gone, 
gone to tender up their account at the bar of God." His own per- 
sonal feelings he confided to the understanding doctor: "How 
such events should impress us with the necessity of making our 
peace with GodI In view of these, many are the good resolves I 
have made for the future. How faithfully I will adhere to them 
only time will reveal " 

The grief-stricken young man said he could not trust himself 
in a letter to speak of the death-bed scene, his present feelings, 
or future resolves. These would have to wait until "I ... be al- 
lowed the privilege of conversing with you in person." Ben closed 
his letter by expressing to Bishop his warmest thanks for the love 
and devotion that had been showered upon him for three years, 

Though I shall no more take my seat in your classroom, I would 
not that this separation should destroy whatever of interest you might 
have felt in my welfare. But that whenever you may see anything in 
my course which you deem reprehensible or any advice you may sug- 
gest . . . under whatever circumstances and whatever subject, it can 
never meet with other than a hearty welcome. . . . 11T 

117 This is the earliest letter of Benjamin Harrison to be preserved, Harrison 


Love, Learning and Law 

ONE MONTH and ten days after his seventeenth birthday, 
Benjamin Harrison set out for Miami University at Ox- 
ford, Ohio. The day before departure from The Point 
lingered in Ben's memory as a sad one. It was no easy task to 
take leave of his brothers and sisters who were now deprived of 
the love and care of a devoted mother. The family realized that 
John Scott was a wonderful father to them, yet their loss was 
severe. While Ben was packing his few belongings and his notes 
from Farmers' College, in preparation for his trip to Oxford, 
John Scott was in his own room writing a letter to Rev. William 
C. Anderson, 1 President of Miami University: 

My son Benjamin, the bearer hereof, leaves home tomorrow for 
Oxford, with a view of attaching himself to one of the classes in your 

Benjamin has been for several years a student of Farmers 1 College 
in this county . . . and will hand you a statement of his standing in 
that school, which Doctor Bishop was so kind to give without solicita- 

It would have given me great pleasure to have accompanied Ben- 
jamin to Oxford. But my own health and that of a daughter, now in 
the city, will not permit my leaving home. I therefore send Benjamin 
alone, and commend him to your kind care and instruction. 

Any aid you may be able to render Benjamin in the selection of a 
proper place to board will be gratefully received. 2 

Unfortunately, this letter does not reveal the conflict behind 
the scenes, nor does it attempt to list the reasons why Ben finally 
matriculated at this "Yale of the West." 8 In the fall of 1850 John 
Scott Harrison found himself well along the road to financial 

1 William C. Anderson served as President of Miami from 1849 to 1854. Though 
he never attended Miami as a student, he had received in 1834 an honorary MJ\. 
degree from that institution. Anderson previously held a professorship in the Theo- 
logical Seminary at New Albany, Indiana, and also taught at Hanover College in 
the same state. For the dose relationship maintained by both these institutions with 
Miami University, see James H. Rodabaugh, Robert Hamilton Bishop, p. 161. 

2 J, S. Harrison to Rev. William C. Anderson, September 30, 1850, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. i. 

3 John W. Scott, in his A History and Biographical Cyclopedia of Butler County 

nhin /Pinrinnafi ,fto\ fi_* rt ^Ka M^ *U* *U/ j^ _r /.,_, ,_. f *' 


ruin, 4 and was forced to abandon long-cherished hopes of send- 
ing his son to a renowned "Yankee college." This blow of ap- 
parent ill fortune was, in reality, a boon to Ben, and dovetailed 
nicely with a new and rapidly growing interest which first took 
possession of his heart back on College Hill. 

Early in 1848, through the good offices of Dr. Bishop, Ben, then 
a freshman at Farmers' College, was introduced to Rev. Dr. John 
W. Scott, 5 who had come to Farmers' College in 1845, along 
with Bishop. The two educators had been intimate friends ever 
since Scott came to Miami University in 1828, a graduate of 
Washington College, Pennsylvania. Professor Scott, somewhat 
of a pioneer in the field of education for women, had succeeded 
in organizing a woman's college on College Hill, in the years he 
was teaching young Harrison and his contemporaries the rudi- 
ments of chemistry and physics. 

During the closing months of his freshman year, Ben was a 
frequent and welcomed visitor at Dr. Scott's residence, and it was 
not an interest in molecules nor a yearning to master the laws of 
thermodynamics that attracted him. No mention is made in the 
Harrison Papers of Dr. Scott's pedagogical prowess. There is evi- 
dence, however, that Mr. and Mrs. Scott were blessed with two 
daughters and two sons, Elizabeth, Caroline, John, and Henry. 

Carrie Scott was not so handsome as Lizzie, but she was attrac- 
tive enough to win Benjamin's heart. In the eyes of this love- 
struck freshman Carrie was "charming and loveable, petite and 
a little plump, with soft brown eyes and a wealth of beautiful 
brown hair." 6 They grew fond of one another, and this budding 
romance blossomed until that frosty day in 1849 when Dr. Scott 
moved his school from College Hill to Oxford, Ohio, and 
founded a larger institution, The Oxford Female Institute. To 

diploma was set high . . . the full curriculum was patterned very much after that 
of Yale; and in its palmiest days . . . when its number of students rose some years 
to near two hundred and fifty it obtained the soubriquet 'Yale of the West.' " 

4 This story is told in a series of letters (Jan. 12, 16, and Nov. 20, 25, 1850) from 
John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, Short Family Papers, Box 55. Immedi- 
ately after having been granted a loan of $4,000 by John Cleves Short, John Scott 
wrote to him "your kindness relieves me for the present, at least, of parting with a 
home which (though sadly desolate of late) still is endeared to me by many tender 
and hallowed associations/' November 25, 1850, Short Family Papers, Box 55. 

5 "Three of the most illustrious educators of the early West were Robert Hamil- 
ton Bishop, William Holmes McGuffey, the famed author of the Readers bearing 
his name, and John W. Scott." For a further estimate of their work see James H. 
Rodabaugh, op. cit. t Chapter 4. 


Ben's sorrow, he took his family and former students with him. 
But Ben quickly concluded that there were striking "educa- 
tional advantages" connected with matriculation at Miami Uni- 
versity. That October day when he presented his application to 
President Anderson, he in no wise shared his father's regrets that 
he could not afford to be educated in the cultured East. 

Proud of her title, "Daughter of the Old Northwest," Miami 
University dates her origin from a Congressional Land Grant of 
1787- 7 Equally proud can she be of her location, for the village 
of Oxford is beautifully situated on the crown of a hill overlook- 
ing two magnificent valleys. Today's wide smooth streets and 
well-kept lawns give no indication of the hardships, setbacks and 
financial woes of the university during her pioneer days. Granted 
a charter on February 17, i8og, 8 it was not until the fall of 1824 
that Miami's portals were opened to students, and only in the 
following spring was Dr. Robert Hamilton Bishop inaugurated 
as the first president. 9 

In the autumn of 1850, when Benjamin Harrison enrolled as 
a member of the junior class, he found Miami enjoying her most 
prosperous era under the efficient direction of President Ander- 
son. From a nadir of 68 students the registration had risen to well 
over 250, while intellectual standards were maintained at a high 
level and hard work was the order of the day. In the catalogue 
he could read.that the course of study "was full and thorough in 
all departments, and equal in these respects to that of any college 
in the United States." 10 Harrison was to learn first hand that this 
claim could be substantiated, and although Miami was the thir- 
tieth university to be established in the United States, and the 
seventh state university, 11 nevertheless it compared favorably in 
the matter of faculty and enrollment with the more renowned 
institutions of the country. 12 

7 This grant was made to John Cleves Symmes, William Henry Harrison's father- 
in-law. It was known as the Symmes' Purchase. 

8 James H. Rodabaugh, "Miami University, Calvinism, and the Anti-Slavery 
Movement," Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, 48 (January, 1939), 

A. H. Upham, "The Centennial of Miami University," Ohio State Archaeologi- 
cal and Historical Quarterly, 18 (1909), 322-44. 

10 Harrison MSS, Vol. a. 

11 Donald G. Tewksbury, The Founding of American Colleges and Universities 
Before the Civil War (New York, 1932), pp. 70, 167. 


During a period of adjustment to this new university life Ben 
enjoyed much less freedom at Miami than he had had at Farmers' 
College. This was not because the laws against dueling, card-play- 
ing and dancing in any sense rested heavily on his young shoul- 
ders, nor because he felt impeded by the injunction that "no 
student shall wear about his person pistol, dirk, stiletto, or other 
dangerous weapon." 18 Rather, it was the strict daily order of study 
and class, varied only by class and study, which made heavy de- 
mands upon the already seriously inclined young junior. 

School law said that all students must be in their rooms from 
7:00 in the evening until chapel services the next morning at 
7:30. After the reading of Scripture and prayers, the daily aca- 
demic program got under way. Recitations and class began at 
8:00 and carried through until 11:00 A.M., with the result that 
breakfast and last-minute "cramming" were squeezed in between 
a self-appointed hour of rising and chapel service. 14 

Daily recitations brought the students into direct contact with 
the faculty who, during Ben's stay at Miami, were "men of un- 
usual attainments and influence. 1 ' 15 At 8:00 A.M., Dr. J. C. Moffat, 
the soul of dignity, presided over the Latin class. He was fol- 
lowed at 9:00 by "Old Charley" Elliott, a scholarly and absent- 
minded professor who wrestled with Greek. 16 The last hour of 
class in the morning usually was spent in "a queer little science 
hall" in which Professor O. N. Stoddard endeavored to explain 
the mysteries of natural science. 

Volumes in 

University Students Library Instructors 

Bowdoin 143 14,000 10 

Dartmouth 302 14*500 12 

Yale 561 25,500 31 

Columbia 146 14,000 11 

Princeton 237 11,000 13 

Georgetown 130 12,000 17 

University of Virginia 247 i535<> 9 

College of South Carolina 160 19,000 not given 

Harvard 382 49,500 30 

Miami 250 6,200 6 

13 Royal Cortissoz, The Life of Whitelaw Reid (New York, 1921), I, 13. Reid, 
Harrison's vice-presidential running mate in 1892, entered Miami University the 
year after Ben's graduation. Reid's letters on his college life are colorful. 

i* The catalogue read: "Instruction in Religion and Morality is," according to 
the Charter, "among the objects for which the University is established . . . ; and 
the students are required to be present daily at the religious worship in the chapel." 
Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

15 Upham, op. cit. t pp. 322-44. 

16 Ibid. See also Cortissoz, op. cit. t I, 15. 


The boys were assigned a study period in the hour preceding 
and following the light meal at noon, but the time was rarely 
spent in the way the college authorities had prescribed. At about 
11:30 A.M., the mail arrived, and this was a general signal for 
many to quit their books and quickly devour the news from the 
outside world. Immediately after lunch the rooms of the more 
popular men served as caucus chambers where assembled col- 
legians swapped stories on the latest happenings at home and 
reviewed recently written chapters on campus love-life. Ben en- 
joyed similar sessions in his own room, and his roommate, John 
Anderson, has fortunately left us a picture: 

. . . when we sat together in our room at Oxford . . . "gowned and 
slippered" . . . your book in hand . . . picking your nose or gazing at 
the chance coal in the little stove . . . thinking of I won't say who 
perhaps Doctor Scott . . . with frowning brow descanting on Saylor's 
latest meanness ... or "in costume" dreading the intended bath . . . 
[or outside] bowling on the green ... or strolling along the river 
bank at evening 17 

This collegiate camaraderie did not altogether please the authori- 
ties in charge of discipline. For a period, visits of inspection were 
frequently made, but as discipline improved they ceased. 

While Ben was acclimating himself to Oxford and a new group 
of friends, he was much perturbed that his family failed to write 
to him. Towards the end of his second week he was rewarded 
with a long and warm letter from his married sister, who was 
delighted to learn that her young student-brother "was so well 
pleased with the situation at Oxford" and she significantly added 
her sincere hope that "you will so conduct yourself that all the 
professors will be pleased with you.*' This letter was not written 
in a completely serious vein. Evidently Betsey suspected the worst 
when she asked Ben "what in the world made your lips so sore? I 
hope no one has been kissing you so hard they raised a blister; 
come confess and tell me all the particulars." Having promised 
to keep Ben supplied with Cincinnati papers, she concluded, her 
letter with very pointed words of counsel, as she exhorted Ben: 

Bear in mind that now is the time to establish your character there. 
And whatever reputation you gain now, that you will have through 
out your whole college life, and will have a strong bearing on your 

17 John Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, March a*, 18154, Harrison 
MSS.Vol.a. 3 J * 


future career. I have bright hopes for you, Ben, don't, I pray you, with 
your own hand snatch from a beloved sister this fond anticipation. 18 

Ben was soon seriously distracted from his studies by the lack 
of news from home; even in late October only short scribbled 
messages gave the worried boy to understand that "a series of mis- 
haps and mistakes too tedious to mention" 19 precluded anything 
like regular correspondence. They were the perennial difficulties. 
Jennie wrote, "Pa has not written because he wants to wait until 
he can send you money" (Oct. 19); "Pa was disappointed in get- 
ting his business transacted" (Oct. 26). November, however, saw 
a change for the better. A favorable wind chased from The Point 
the perennial cloud of misfortune, with the result that Ben re- 
ceived his first real letter from his father. John Scott Harrison 
expressed his satisfaction that Oxford met with his son's approval, 
and, like sister Bet, he urged Ben "to try hard to stand high in the 
estimation of both professors and fellow students." 20 

The father's enthusiastic desire to see Ben get ahead did not 
blind him to the ordinary obstacles which fall across the path of 
the young man who endeavors to stand in well with the teachers 
as well as with the crowd. He explained away the misconception 
popular in college circles that "no man can serve two masters": 
the faculty and the students. With Ben he insisted vigorously 
that one may earn "the esteem of both ... by pursuing a straight 
forward, honorable course in all things ... by showing proper 
respect and by giving diligent attention to all your studies." In 
conclusion he told him to do all this: 

. . . and at the same time winning the friendship and good will of 
students of a kind, approvable manner, and a display of high-minded 
generosity and forgiveness in your intercourse with them, being al- 
ways as ready to overlook an unintentional wrong as you would be to 
resent an intended or premeditated enmity. 

It is very important in acquiring the good will of your associates, 
in that we should never seek to make a witty remark at the expense of 
the feelings of a less gifted friend or acquaintance. 21 

These words flowed from the depth of his personal experience. 
His own life was testimony to the value of friendship and with 

18 Betsey H. Eaton to Benjamin Harrison, October 9, 1850, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

19 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, October 19, 1850, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

20 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, November 4, 1850, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

21 Ibid. 


the air of an arm-chair philosopher he could say, "we may call 
forth the momentary applause of the company by flashes of our 
wit, but we pay too dearly for the liberty, if it is acquired by the 
loss of a friend, no matter how dull he may be of intellect. If he 
has a heart to feel, and an arm to aid, his friendship is worth 
preserving." 22 

John Scott Harrison's paternal but hard common sense was not 
wasted upon unwilling ears. Though not of the rollicking type, 
Ben cultivated more than a few friends. He was not selfish, "yet 
his love of self made him careful of his time and of his reserve 
powers/' 23 He had his likes and his dislikes, was somewhat care- 
less of his external appearance, and yet left the over-all impres- 
sion with his fellow students as 

... an unpretentious but courageous student . . . respectable in lan- 
guage and science . . . and excellent in political science and history 
. . . who talked easily and fluently and never seemed to regard life as 
a joke nor opportunities for advancement as subject for sport . . . 
[and was] impressed with the belief that he was ambitious. . . , 24 

After he had passed through the early years at Miami, Ben, 
in common with his classmates, found the chains of friendship 
forged more strongly. As a group, the junior class felt compelled 
to band together, to pool their intellectual efforts in an attempt 
to satisfy various professional demands. Here young Harrison 
was able to play a significant role, for, according to one of the 
class, "the three brightest men of the college were Benjamin 
Harrison, David Swing and Milton Saylor." 26 If the Greek were 
unusually difficult, the boys would call at Swing's room on the 
way to class to be coached; in return, Harrison and Saylor would 
help Swing over the hard places in mathematics. This group 
worked splendidly for themselves and for the class .as a whole, 

22 ibid. 

23 Lewis W. Ross, Ben's classmate, and later a successful lawyer in Council Bluffs, 
Iowa, wrote a long letter to Lew Wallace who included it as a footnote in the Life 
of Gen. Ben Harrison, pp. 60-62. 

24 Ibid. Ross claims that Harrison's proficiency in political science and history 
was due "largely to the foundations laid under the instruction of Dr. Bishop at 
Farmers' College." 

25 David Swing, of Chicago, took second honors, and Milton Saylor, later of New 
York City, took the first honors. Ross claimed that "Harrison in class standing and 
merit, ranked above the average," loc. cit. f p. 61. See also St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 
July i, 1888, for a like confirmation of class standings. 


and it is not difficult to see how life-friendships resulted. 28 
During these formative years Ben cultivated another very close 
friend. His name was John Alexander Anderson, a sophomore, 
and between these two seventeen-year-olds there sprang up a mu- 
tual feeling of respect and devotion that lasted for years. Shortly 
after the 1852 Commencement, when Ben was absent from the 
first alumni reunion dinner held at Oxford, Anderson wrote: 

But I was very sorry indeed, then, that you did not come . . . [for] I 
have had so much real happiness with you that I think apart from 
your innate power of giving enjoyment, association must have some- 
thing to do with it. ... And you always bring with you a recollection 
of old times that no one else can produce. 27 

And after John Anderson himself had graduated and had ac- 
cepted a chair of Latin, Greek and mathematics at Mount Pleas- 
ant Academy, Kingston, Ohio, Ben received another such testi- 
monial of cordiality and devotion. Anderson wrote, "and I fear 
I will never be able to return to such disinterested and noble 
friendship . . . yet so far as I have power nothing done for you 
will be too great. May God bless you." 28 

Before finally deciding upon dormitory life, young Ben tried 
rooming at the Mansion House, a public boarding house off cam- 
pus. Ben seemed to take to these new surroundings, but his father 
was not at all satisfied with this arrangement, "not because I was 
at all afraid of your contracting a habit of drinking, I have con- 
fidence in you in this regard that would not be easily shaken," 
but because "I was unwilling that you should necessarily have 
your mind so much taken from your studies, in going to and 
from your room for meals." John Scott was thoroughly honest in 
declaring that he wanted his son "to live off the fat of Oxford," 
and agreed that "if they feed better at the Mansion House than 
elsewhere, why stay there by all means, . . . but do not get in the 
habit of staying in the bar room." 29 

One so-called vice that Ben did not leave behind him at Farm- 
ers' College was his strong propensity for smoking long cigars, 
and when John Scott received repeated reports from school au- 

26 Ibid. There is also a wealth of material in Fishback's biographical account of 
Harrison at Miami, Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS. 

27 J. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, December 354, 1852, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 2. 

28 J. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, August 3, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

20 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, November 4, 1850, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 


thorities on the subject, he decided upon a course of vigorous 
action that was almost guaranteed to produce results. He sat 
down and penned Ben a letter in which first he expressed his 
own disappointment, for he had hoped smoking had been given 
up entirely. 

I found the other day a letter which your dear mother had writ- 
ten you and Irwin on that subject [cigar smoking] . I had never seen 
it before, and it does seem to me that you and Irwin must have for- 
gotten the request she makes therein, or you would have never put 
another cigar in your mouth. Oh! how elegantly she urges you to 
give up the habit. She says "how sweet it would be to know that I 
had influenced you to give this habit up in the first step in a course 
of vice." 

It was scarcely necessary for John Scott to say more; he refused to 
send a copy of the letter, for he knew his son well enough to say 

... it will be sufficient for you to remember, that a sainted mother, 
once made of you the request to make the sacrifice for her, to induce 
you at once to say, / have smoked my last cigar, and adhere to it with 
the same steadfast resolution, that you would in carrying out the 
wishes of your dear mother, when she was still living. 30 

Unquestionably, Ben's greatest diversion and most engaging 
activity centered around two buildings, the Old Temperance 
Tavern and the small house of Rebecca Teal. Dr. John W. Scott 
had bought the tavern, which was just across the street from the 
new college building, and established a boarding department for 
his newly founded Oxford Female Institute. Then Scott added 
several rooms in a way to connect the old tavern with the Teal 
house. 31 The latter was particularly important because it had a 
little front porch where Ben Harrison and Carrie Scott re-experi- 
enced the stirrings of love which had first sparked on College 
Hill. It was not long before blushing Ben was referred to by his 
classmates as "the pious moonlight dude." 32 

During the opening months of the school year the "men of 
Miami" were frustrated in their attempt to mingle with the In- 
stitute girls, and Dr. Scott locked the gates early in the evening. 
Only after weeks of hard pleading could Carrie persuade her 
father to allow the girls to receive young gentlemen at the school, 
and from the day that this new social policy was adopted Ben 

80 ibid. 

31 See Smith, op. cit., pp. 71-75. 

32 Ophia D. Smith, Fair Oxford (Oxford, Ohio, 1947), p. 190. 


Harrison was a frequent visitor. In summer a horse, buggy and 
beau gratified the village girls, who with their newly starched 
calico dresses and sun-bonnets found quiet contentment in an 
evening's drive. In winter the buggy gave way to the sleigh and 
impromptu races along snow-covered streets. 83 

Ben entered into this fun with high enthusiasm. He found in 
Carrie an irresistible charm born of bright and witty manners 
which overflowed with life and spirit. His own tendencies to 
seriousness and reserve were completely submerged in her pres- 
ence. Ben was lucky in his find, for Carrie was born into a re- 
fined, cultured and religious home. 84 She was gay and fun-loving, 
and as a general rule in her teen-age days she disliked domestic 
tasks, particularly cooking and mending. An accomplished musi- 
cian and painter, she was definitely artistic in taste and tempera- 
ment. Her clothes, however, were not always in perfect order. 
"Her petticoat had a way of slipping its moorings about her slen- 
der waist and peeping from beneath her skirt." Above all, she 
liked to dance, and in later life when she was acknowledged as 
a beautiful dancer she used to say tongue-in-cheek "We did not 
dance ... it was considered a great sin 85 at Oxford, but we man- 
aged to have just as much fun without it." 

Carrie and Ben were serious young people, but they were not 
above a bit of mischief, especially when Carrie lured Ben from his 
books to some untried expedition. Once when Dr. and Mrs. Scott 
were away from home, the couple went buggy riding. Though it 
was against the rules, they slipped away to a dancing party, where 
Ben sat gravely apart, but Carrie danced as gaily as any girl 
there. 86 Carrie would change Ben within a few short years. 

Although Ben was greatly interested in Carrie, he never would 
permit himself to forget that he came to Miami to study. His 
greatest opportunity for intellectual advancement came when he 
was invited to become a member of the Union Literary Society, 

38 These details were given by Mrs. Harrison (Carrie Scott) in an interview on 
September 5, 1888, at Indianapolis, Indiana, Harrison Scrapbook No. 6, p. 89, 
Harrison MSS. 

34 Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS. 

35 As Weisenburger observes in Passing of the Frontier, p. 162: in "both Presby- 
terian and Congregational Churches, members were arraigned for such offenses as 
scandal, Sunday traveling, theft, sexual immorality, profanity, card-playing, run- 
ning a Sunday boat, using intoxicants, attending cotillions and dancing parties, and 
neglecting the means of grace, including family prayers." 

38 Smith, Old Oxford House, pp. 73-74. 


a traditional and powerful agency for good at Miami. 87 Already 
fired with enthusiasm for political and literary subjects by Bish- 
op's inspiration, Ben took advantage of this society's splendid 
program of group study, public speaking and debating. Here he 
found himself not only permitted to debate important religious 
and political questions of the day, but also strongly encouraged 
to have independent opinions and to speak them freely. 

By virtue of his affiliation with the group young Harrison was 
afforded excellent facilities for serious study. During the first 
twenty years of its existence this association had purchased almost 
2,000 books, which, in reality, formed the backbone of the uni- 
versity library. 88 As might be suspected, the greater part of the 
university library was devoted to theology and the Greek and 
Latin classics, but it was the Society library which housed a 
number of important volumes in the fields of Harrison's major 
interests: history, law and politics. Among the more important 
acquisitions were government publications such as Senate Papers 
and Documents, House Journals, Journals of Congress on domes- 
tic and foreign affairs, State Papers, and other official reports. 39 

Ben was remembered by fellow members as spending many 
profitable hours in the library. When he spoke, he impressed his 
fellow debaters as "level headed and thoughtful and as one who 
usually made a thorough preparation." The fact that "he could 
see clearly, think well on his feet, and possessed a vocabulary of 
apt words constantly at his command" was not lost on them. 40 

In the 1840*5 and 1850*5 when temperance societies mush- 
roomed into prominence, and the whole temperance movement 
was successfully kept before the public, Miami's halls heard the 

BTUpham, loc. cit. These societies held charters from the state and chal- 
lenged openly the right of the faculty to interfere with or control their 
activities or views. By virtue of their charters they could award diplomas. Ben 
received his in 1853 and it read in part ". . . Hoc diplomate no turn sit BENJAMIN 
HARRISON huius Societatis esse, et juvenem moribus honestis praeditum, et erudi- 
tione liberali imbutum. Hisce litteris igitur cum ARTIUM OPTIMARUM CULTORIBUS 
ubique gentium late comraendamus. . . ." This diploma is in the possession of Mrs. 
James Elaine Walker, Benjamin Harrison's daughter by his second marriage. 

88 In 1840 the 6,200 volumes in the university library were recorded as belong- 
ing to the following societies: 1,500 volumes to the Erodelphiam Society; 1,000 vol- 
umes to Miami Hall; 1,700 volumes to the Union Literary Society. See Rodabaugh, 
Bishop, pp. 71-72. 

40 There are several newspaper accounts wherein Ben is described by contempo- 
raries as a member of the Union Literary Society. The best account is by Fishback 
in the New York Evening Post, Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS. 


erits of the topic all too often. 41 One evening Ben was asked 
debate with a veritable Demosthenes of the temperance cause. 
L the opening sentences of his address Ben strove valiantly to 
nder his audience benevolent. He begged forbearance on the 
ore that, unlike his distinguished contemporary, he could not 
* so entirely original as to be able to think new thoughts on the 
dest subjects, yet he said he hoped that the acknowledged merits 
the subject "will, ... in some measure atone for the inex- 
jrience of the speaker, inexperience not only in making temper- 
ice speeches but in drinking whiskey." And with the wit and 
imor of his next remark, Ben gained a most favorable audience: 

r unlike the reformed drunkard who addressed you so powerfully, 
:an recount no life spent in the service of King Alcohol; nor can I 
eak of a home made desolate by its ravages. True I have not seen 
5 [Alcohol's] bright influence within the holy precincts of home; 
ather has not bowed to the tyrant, or a brother, and yet I have seen 
ese endeared by ties of consanguinity pass from respectable posi- 
>ns among their fellows to a drunkard's grave, and I have seen 
tiers . . . equally respected tread the same dark road. 

tie keynote of his peroration was "the notorious fact that this 
y most of our public men drink, many to excess." Consequent- 
he concluded with an urgent plea for the sovereign people "to 
st drunken demagogues from the legislative halls and judicial 
nches and fill their places with honest temperance men." 42 

As an acknowledgment of his skill in public speaking and as a 
rsonal tribute of respect from his colleagues, Ben was elected 
the presidency of the Union Literary Society. In his speech of 
:eptance he turned a few nice phrases, as he set forth the aim 
the Society by comparing its members to men engaged in mili- 
-y life. "For as the raw recruit," he said, "becomes familiarized 
th the noise and smoke of war in the sham battles of the re- 
liting station," so here in this hall "we accustom ourselves not 
ly to listen without trepidation to the stern vocal dignity of an 
tagonist, but also to pierce through the clouds of smoke with 
lich he seeks to enshroud his entrenchments." 48 

u Weisenburger, op. cit., p. 163. Also see Kenneth W. Povenmire, "Temperance 
vement in Ohio, 1840-1850," unpublished MJV. dissertation, Ohio State Univer- 

> 1932- 

12 The original manuscript is dated October 15, 1851, at Miami University. It 

n the Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

L3 This oration is preserved in Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 


The main point of his presidential address was a strong encour- 
agement to the new members that they develop and become pro- 
ficient in the art of speaking on their feet. One of the greatest 
political assets in his public career was his own ability to make a 
worth-while address on almost any subject with only a moment's 
notice, and at the age of eighteen he was urging his contempo- 
raries at Miami "to improve every opportunity of extemporane- 
ous speaking." For himself and for his colleagues he set up as the 
model to be imitated "the beardless stripling [Patrick Henry] 
of the Virginia House of Burgesses" whose initial stutterings and 
stammerings were forgotten as his oratory won for him the title 
"father of his country." 44 

Harrison's crowning glory, however, was not membership in 
a forensic society. Far more significant was his acceptance into 
the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, founded at Miami University in 
i848. 45 Although he was not a charter member, he was the nine- 
teenth signer of the Greek-letter bond. After his initiation in the 
spring of 1851 he assumed an active role in promoting the welfare 
of the new-born society. Up to the time of his death Harrison en- 
joyed the distinction of being the only man ever elected Presi- 
dent who had been a fraternity member during his college days. 46 
During his senior year he served as secretary, and this marked the 
beginning of a life-long interest which was culminated when he 
became honored as the society's Second Founder. 47 In 1889, when 
Harrison entered the White House, the Ohio Alpha Chapter of 
Phi Delta Theta memorialized the event and predicted for the 
country an administration of grandeur. 48 

Although a state institution, Miami University was virtually a 
Presbyterian stronghold during the first fifty years of its existence. 

45 The founder was Robert Morrison of the Class of 1849. See tne Alumni and 
Former Student Catalogue of Miami University, 1809-1892 (Oxford, Ohio, 1899), 
p. 52. Miami mothered a triad of fraternities in Harrison's day. Delta Kappa Epsi- 
lon and Sigma Chi vied with Phi Delta Theta for new candidates. See Walter B. 
Palmer, The History of Phi Delta Theta (Menasha, Wis., 1906), pp. 40-43. 

46 Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser, March 16, 1901. Under the same date the 
Indianapolis Sentinel carried a tribute by Hilton U. Brown and others to Harrison 
as one "who has been a member of this fraternity almost from its organization. 
Everything with which he identified himself helped the uplift of his character and 
loyalty. To such influences may be attributed the dignity and integrity of the 

47 Palmer, op. cit. t p. 536. 

48 Morrison, some eleven years older than Harrison, became an intimate friend 
during their college days. Together with New Year's wishes he sent a pre-inaugural 


I of its presidents up to 1873 were Presbyterian ministers, and 
* trustees and professors were, in general, members of that de- 
mination. 49 In the decade between 1850 and 1860 the leading 
ssbyterian divine was Rev. Dr. Joseph Claybaugh, Professor of 
:brew Language and Oriental Literature. 
Mot only was Dr. Claybaugh the leading spirit in Presbyterian 
iks, but he also frequently took on the garb of an active cru- 
ler on campus that students might be formally received into 
j church he represented. During the twilight days of 1850, in 
attempt to "convert the sinners of Oxford/' 60 Claybaugh con- 
cted one of his "revivals." Whether it was the eloquence of the 
nister or the severe promptings of the spirit, or perhaps a fe- 
itous combination of both forces, "the young men of the Uni- 
sity found their hearts touched, and they not only embraced 
ssbyterianism, but they vowed to one another that they would 
study for the ministry." 51 

The news of Ben's formal connection with the church was re- 
ved at The Point with genuine expressions of delight and 
ititude. Sister Sallie spoke for the family, when she wrote: 

*a received your letter of a few days ago, and you cannot conceive 
at ineffable delight we all felt, to learn that you intended to con- 
:t your self with the church. May you never have cause to regret 
s step, it is indeed, a great privilege to be members with Christ's 
lowers. . . . You speak of several students having given evidence of 
inge of heart ... I trust that God in His mercy will smile upon 
m and that they may continue steadfast to the end. 62 

2 of interest: "Well, General Ben Harrison . . . the nineteenth signing the bond 
'hi Delta Theta, accept the congratulations of the man whose name was the first 
written to that instrument, with the hope that his administration as president 
tie United States may be as successful in every way and on a much grander scale 
i was his administration of the Ohio Alpha of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity 
he crisis of 1851." Robert Morrison to Benjamin Harrison, January 7, 1889, 
rison MSS, Vol. 56, Nos. 12608-9. 

Rodabaugh, "Miami University, Calvinism, and the Anti-Slavery Movement," 
cit. 3 pp. 66-75. It should be noted that Presbyterian philanthropic associations 
x as the Presbyterian Education Society and the Board of Education of the 
icral Assembly gave financial aid to Miami and to a number of its students. 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July i, 1888. Also see Fishback in New York Post, a 
ping in the Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 6, p. 93, Harrison MSS. 

1 Harrison's graduating class (1852) had five Presbyterian ministers, and one 
lolic priest, the Jesuit Father Harmar Denny. In the class of 1855 sixteen out of 
thirty-six graduates became Presbyterian ministers. There was also one Catholic 
st in this group. The 1854 class gave nine out of twenty-eight to the Presby- 
an ministry, whereas the class of 1855 gave ten out of twenty-two. These figures 
compiled from the Alumni Catalogue, 1808-1802, pp. 54-61. 

2 Sallie Harrison to Benjamin, February 8, 1851, Harrison, MSS, Vol. i. 


Ben's faithful exercise of his newly won privilege to attend 
and participate in prayer meetings and other devotional exer- 
cises gave evidence that he was trying to serve God conscientious- 
ly. Much satisfied, John Scott penned only one admonition: "He 
that continues faithful, alone will obtain the victory." 58 

Before Harrison received his diploma in June 1852, he experi- 
enced quite a struggle. The elements of conflict in his soul had 
been slowly maturing, and the paramount problem was his love- 
sickness over Carrie Scott. Ben himself freely admitted to John 
Anderson that "my last eight months probation at college af- 
forded me an opportunity to watch a patient through all the 
stages of this [love's] mysterious disease." 54 Love was only one 
challenge to this graduating senior now worn out by an un- 
checked application to hard work. He was baffled primarily by 
his choice of a life-time vocation. The scales seemed evenly bal- 
anced between theology and law but there was always the ques- 
tion of Carrie. 

Secretly they had become engaged. Though everyone on cam- 
pus could see that Carrie and Ben were in love, they did not 
realize its seriousness. Had Ben's classmates been able to read his 
letters from home, much would have been revealed. Carrie's pic- 
ture held a place of honor at The Point, 55 and she was assured 
a most cordial welcome by each of Ben's sisters. 56 Jennie wrote, 
"how is Carrie? I am glad I will have the pleasure of seeing her 
soon. I feel as if I almost knew her already . . . and I have made 
up my mind to love her. I feel sure it would not be a hard task 
to love anyone you did." 57 

Though Carrie was on his mind, so was the rapidly approach- 
ing Commencement. To obtain the college diploma both his 
family and his professors expected of him, Ben decided that a 
more serious application to study was essential. He went at the 
books with an intenseness that alarmed his roommate, but con- 
es John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, March 13, 1851, Harrison MSS, Vol. i. 

54 Benjamin Harrison to John Alexander Anderson, March 4, 1853, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 2. 

55 "I look at my picture every day and it seems to remind me frequently of 
yourself and a certain friend. Give her my love and thank her for it" Jennie Har- 
rison to Benjamin, October [1851 ?], Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

56 "Give my love to C.S., that is if you have cultivated her agreeable acquaint- 
ance." Sallie to Benjamin, March 8, 1852, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

57 Jennie Harrison to Benjamin, April 28, 1852, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 


stant chidings for overwork did not seem to deter him. 68 Finally, 
a halt was called to this feverish and imprudent pace, when word 
came from The Point: "I hear you are not looking very well. 
Take care of yourself. Health ought to be the first considera- 
tion/' 59 Under orders from home, Ben slowed down his academic 
pace, and, though he managed to keep the thoughts of Carrie 
on the periphery of consciousness, he was still confronted with 
choosing his state in life. 

Everything pointed to his career as a gentleman of the cloth: 
the exceptionally deep religious character of his parents who 
recognized in practice the supremacy of things of the spirit; the 
very campus of Miami, where professors were purportedly living 
models of sanctity; the effect of frequent religious revivals on his 
thinking; and his own recent and whole-hearted acceptance of 
Presbyterianism and his solemn promise to enter the ministry. 

Yet Ben had a mind of his own and he determined to make his 
own decision. If there was one thing that old Doctor Bishop had 
taught him, it was a healthy independence of thought. Conse- 
quently, this crisis saw him adopt a procedure which in later life 
would characterize his legislative and executive thinking. With 
the air of an impartial investigator, he weighed the respective 
merits of each career, and asked himself what course an intelli- 
gent "youth just emerging into manhood" should pursue. 60 

In answering this question for himself, Ben wrote: "Let it be 
understood I mean by profession: theology, law and physics. 11 
Then, taking for granted the long course of laborious study by 
which a young man prepares himself to "go forth and grapple 
with the stern realities of life," he considered the role of the 
doting parent, who, "after great expense and trouble in provid- 
ing a liberal education," waits impatiently to see his son "wearing 
a white cross," "swinging a shingle" or "dragging out a miserable 
existence in some obscure cellar." 61 

Harrison obviously had little taste for the pinched existence 
of an experimental physicist. With his choice narrowed to the 
altar or the bar, consideration was given to "Theology, first in 

ss j. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, February 9, 1853, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. *. 

59 Jennie Harrison to Benjamin, April 28, 1852, Harrison MSS, Vol. *. 

60 These remarks of Harrison are taken from a manuscript in his own hand, 
Harrison MSS, Vol. *. 

61 Ibid. 


the order of importance, as it addresses itself to Christian youth 
with peculiar earnestness." This earnestness flowed from a real- 
ization of the "unspeakable pleasure which a faithful discharge 
of the duties . . . [belonging] to the ordained of God to evange- 
lize the whole world." The minister is, in reality, God's co-worker 
in this glorious country of ours, for his office is "to point the in- 
quiring soul to God, to break the bread of life, to encourage the 
disheartened ... to comfort the mourner, to smooth the dying 
pillow, and like a guardian angel to hover around the dismal 
abode of poverty and wretchedness." 62 

With a warmth and vigor that possibly give a clue to his ulti- 
mate choice, Ben pondered the merits of the legal profession. In 
clarifying the problem in his own mind, he came to defend the 
profession against unjust accusers. He deemed it a strange thing, 
considering the connection between law and equity, that in so 
many communities "no invective has been thought too strong 
and no anathema too bitter" for lawyers as a group. He was 
amazed, also, that, whenever members of the legal profession had 
dared to join charity with their practice, they had been so often 
denounced as hypocrites "until it has become a generally ac- 
knowledged proposition that no honest or pious man can prac- 
tice law with success." 68 By urging a reconsideration of the truth 
of this charge, Harrison challenged its validity and argued thus: 

. . . that all rogues are lawyers may in some sense be true, but that 
all lawyers are rogues, no syllogistic reasoning can prove. Where is 
the justice in denouncing the whole profession on account of the 
unworthy conduct of some of its members? Shall we denounce and 
anathematize the practice of medicine because there are quacks (and 
that, too, not a few) wrapped in the dignity of an M.D.? 04 

Ben willingly admitted that "the legal profession has not yet ar- 
rived at that dignity and moral excellence to which it could be 
brought. . . ." Yet, in his opinion, the blame must be borne by 
the public whose estimate of this profession has been so low "that 
many who would have given a higher moral tone to it, have been 
prevented from entering upon it by the notion . . . that no Chris- 
tian could consistently do so. . . ," 65 

cs Harrison MSS, Vol. *. 

64 Ibid. 

65 Ibid. 


Eventually, Ben made his choice and the legal profession 
gained another eager aspirant. Though history would confirm 
the choice as a happy one, his selection disappointed more than 
one of the Miami faculty. They had come to admire Ben and 
highly commended him for "the earnestness and warmth with 
which he entered into the duties of members of the church." He 
was assured that this "is the only way to enjoy religion and fulfill 
our communion vows," and though extremely pleased with his 
adherence as a communicant, one of his professors wrote: 

I had hoped besides that you would have studied Theology instead 
of law. I was disappointed as were others in your selection of the pro- 
fession. However, a knowledge of law will be no drawback on a min- 
ister. And I hope God may yet impress you more forcibly with a de- 
sire to administer in holy things. If it is your duty to preach, you will 
not be happy until you do it. Some other members of your class seem 
to have gone the same way. I had looked for some good preachers 
from that class . . . but the attractions of the bar seem to have been 
more patent. May God give you light in every duty. 66 

On June 24, 1852, Oxford crowded to Miami's twenty-third 
annual Commencement exercises. Proud parents, relatives and 
friends of the graduates held seats of honor; only the slightly 
bored undergraduates felt any chagrin at the inception of the 
ceremonies. It must be admitted that these academic fledglings 
had good reason for their air of mental suffering and discom- 
posure; even for the graduates the unusually long programme of 
speech-making and orchestral overtures was made tolerable only 
by the sobering thought that "it happens but once in a lifetime." 

Ben was the third speaker of the day 67 and, although his address 
on "The Poor of England" was favorably received, it did not 
shorten the day's festivities. His family listened proudly to every 
word of his vigorous denunciation of nineteenth-century Eng- 
land, "the England of poor laws and paupers." Exploding one 
rhetorical question after another, he asked his sympathetic audi- 
ence if they thought it were possible that Britain's "obsequious 
pauper and sturdy beggar" hailed from "so proud a parentage"? 
Or whether England's "manly race" was dying out and giving 
place "to Eastern slaves"? Frequently, Ben deprecated the treach- 

66 J. M. Woodawl to Benjamin Harrison, December, 1852, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
2. Six became lawyers. 

67 Unhappily, he was listed on the printed programme as Benjamin Harris; the 
copy shows the last two letters of his name inked in. 



OH C0tnnMint 

JUKE W, 18ft*. 



Latia Salutatory, 
Poetry of Religion, 
Poor of Eajlaud, * 


Jutes A. HUGHES, . 

PaWic Opinion, . . 

Tbo Federal Cooftitaliou, LEWI* W. Row, . 

Hannony of Controls, . SAJIUBL Lowui, . 

He U the Freeman whom) . M H rutttMt 
CbeTratb make. Free, J JAMM H CHIU *' 

and Art as Aids) 
T ChriitiaiiUy, J 

I, * A. C. Jowiif , . 


. DAVID Mootow, . 

OralloB, ...... JOUM S. BAWOI, . . 

Death of 8ocra4ei, Joatru 


. mtwyi.*!. 
. North-fond, 

. SmniBe. 
. ZfcjCwt 

Jfe&r County. 


Oxford. (Exceed.) 

. . NcvConttrd. 




erous degeneration of so large a section of England's population, 
and finally he raised the question "how has the individual been 
robbed of his energy, the social circle of its virtue and purity?" 
Ben proclaimed that this situation was the direct result of the 
"Poor Laws." He labored to make clear the harm that was done 
"when the charitable offering is snatched from the kind hand of 
the benevolent giver" and substituted for it is "the compulsory 
provision of a legalized . . . soulless . . . benevolence." 68 

In the words of Lewis Ross, an eyewitness, Harrison's treat- 
ment of the subject showed that "he had sounded both the depths 
and the causes of this poverty." Writing in 1888, Ross claimed 
that Ben "was a protectionist at the age of 19 ... he is a protec- 
tionist still ... his whole career has been illustrative of his de- 
sire to save his countrymen from the poverty which oppressed 
the Toor of England/ " 6d 

Finally, after the last phrases of Saylor's valedictory address, 
the audience freshened as the graduates prepared to receive their 
diplomas. For Ben the moment proved to be a fitting conclusion 
to his happy sojourn at Oxford. His family, his sweetheart Car- 
rie, and several devoted friends rejoiced to handle the parch- 
ment 70 freshly wrapped in a long blue ribbon. 

Ben issued from the university well equipped and uncom- 
monly well poised. A thoughtful self-reliance and a judgment 
beyond his years were the elements in his character especially 
fostered by his life at Miami, and soon to be made manifest in 
the unfolding of his career. He was still very young only nine- 
teenbut he started home for The Point with his profession 
firmly fixed in mind. The only unfortunate circumstance, as he 
saw it, was the necessity of leaving Carrie behind to finish her 
final year of schooling at the Institute. 

68 Harrison's address is cited in part by Wallace, op. cit., pp. 63-65. The original 
rough draft is in the Harrison MSS (Library of Congress). 

69 Cited in Wallace, op. cit., pp. 60-61. 

70 The diploma is in the possession of Mrs. James Blaine Walker, and the T-afip 
reads: ". . . hoc scripto testatum volumus BENJAMIN HARRISON huius Academiae 
alumnum, consensu SENATUS ACADEMIC?, admissum fuisse ad GRADUM FRIMUM IN 
ARTIBUS LIBERALIBUS. . . ." The following signatures appear on the diploma: J. C. 
Moffat, Charles Elliott, J. Claybaugh, W. C. Anderson, O. N. Stoddard, Thos. Mat- 
thews, R. H. Bishop, Jr., B. Lymans. Alongside of the signatures is listed the dis- 
cipline which each professor taught. 


The Bar and the Altar 

SHORTLY AFTER his graduation, Ben returned to The Point 
for a brief period of rest and relaxation. Home and family, 
always warmly attractive to him, were particularly inviting 
after his pi >longed absence. Fortunately, the weather along the 
Ohio favored his visit at this time of the year, and the study-worn 
collegian described the country air as 'Very refreshing." To his 
roommate he wrote: *T hunted pretty faithfully for several days 
. . . the game was not abundant, ... I found my chief reward in 
the exercise of the tramp/' 1 He might well have added that these 
distractions of the rod and gun, as well as the varied chores about 
the farm, served the distinctly useful purpose of easing his sepa- 
ration from Carrie. 

The evenings were pleasant. Father and son quietly talked 
over Ben's plans for the future. Having shared early with his 
father his own ambitions and deep-seated determination to make 
law his profession, Ben was particularly anxious for counsel as 
to the most acceptable city and law firm in which to take his 
initial steps. Indeed, he could hardly have come to a more com- 
petent counselor than his own father. For a quarter of a cen- 
tury John Scott Harrison was admired and respected throughout 
Hamilton County. As a young man he had served as Justice of 
the Peace of Miami Township, and during the twenty years he 
filled this position it was reported that he enjoyed the distinction 
of never having one of his decisions revoked by a higher court. 2 

1 Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, March 25, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. [Throughout, the names and abbreviations found on the original documents 
have been preserved exactly. No attempt at uniformity has been made in this 
regard. Author.] 

2 These biographical details are culled from an unidentified Ohio newspaper in 
clippings 34, 34A, 343, in the Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. i, Harrison MSS. 
The year was that of Scott Harrison's death in 1878. 




From a photograph {neierued in Harrison Memorial Home 


f '. l 


The neighbors recalled that John Scott Harrison, in his declin- 
ing years, was appointed a member of the Hamilton County 
Board of Control, 3 a position of importance and trust. Now, in 
the summer of 1852, his fellow citizens were only one year re- 
moved from sending him as their representative in Congress. 4 

Most of the legal education in Ohio was attained through 
study in an attorney's office, though John Scott Harrison could 
have enrolled his son in the law department of Cincinnati Col- 
lege, the only one of its kind in the state. 5 However, since the 
usual two years of study in a lawyer's office made a person eligible 
for a license to practice, and since this method had produced a 
singularly able body of attorneys, 6 John Scott advised Ben to go 
to Cincinnati and interview Bellamy Storer, a former Whig Con- 
gressman and now a prominent attorney. Bellamy was the senior 
member of the firm of Storer and Gwynne, and was happy to 
count John Scott among his personal and devoted friends. 7 

Sending Ben to Storer was a wise decision, for the latter was as 
distinguished for his social position as for his legal ability. 8 Hail- 
ing from New England, he was well received upon his arrival in 

3 This Board had complete supervision over the acts of the county commission- 
ers. No money could be expended or taxes assessed without its consent. J. Scott 
Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, April 18, 1872, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7, Nos. 1368-63. 

4Cf. note 2 above; Freeman Cleaves, Old Tippecanoe, p. 276, observes Scott 
Harrison's success as a "local magistrate and a justice of the peace." 

5 Francis P. Weisenburger, Passing of the Frontier, p. 181. This law department 
had only 23 students in 1850, and was in reality an outgrowth of a private law 
school organized in 1833. 

6 Eugene H. Roseboom, The Civil War Era, 1850-1873 (Columbus, Ohio, 1941- 
44). P- 205. 

7 Carrington T. Marshall, History of the Courts and Lawyers of Ohio (New York, 
1934), III, 892. After Storer had been Judge of the Superior Court of Cincinnati 
for over 16 years, John Scott wrote: "We have for several years been separated in 
politics, and yet I have never lost that respect and admiration for you and your 
private and judicial character which prompted me as 'an American' to aid with 
my influence your elevation to the high position you now so ably and honorably 
fill." John Scott Harrison to Hon. B. Storer, May n, 1870, John Scott Harrison 
Papers, i box in the Benjamin Harrison Collection. 

8 Marshall, loc. cit., contains a concise biographical account of Bellamy 
Storer. Born in Portland, Maine, on March 26, 1796, he was educated at 
Bowdoin College and graduated in 1809. Though he received his legal education in 
Boston, he was admitted to the bar in Maine in 1817. Later he moved to Cincinnati 
and, after serving in Congress for two years, was in private practice until his retire- 
ment in 1872. During this same period he also served as professor of law. He died 
June i, 1875, at the age of 79. The Bellamy Storer Papers, preserved by the His- 
torical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, yield no material after 1840. The col- 
lection is now housed at the University of Cincinnati. 


the mid-West, for "to some degree a New England background 
served as a passport to good society and to favorable business 
contacts." 9 

When Ben stepped off the Ohio River steamboat at Cincin- 
nati, he walked into a new world. As he scanned the wharves, 
smokestacks and church steeples, he knew for the first time what 
it meant to become a part of a comparatively large city popula- 
tion. Cincinnati was still growing, and the 1850*3 were transition 
years in Ohio's industrial progress. 10 The 1839 population figure 
of 40,000 had long been surpassed, as hundreds flocked westward 
from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia, as well as 
immigrants from Germany and Ireland. 11 

It was just past mid-century when Ben arrived, and the spirit 
of optimism among the people was lively and contagious. Having 
expanded with tremendous strides and having greatly diversified 
its manufacturing, the Queen City was in a splendid position to 
offer new citizens a sure ground for hope and material advance- 
ment. 12 Perhaps Horace Greeley's oft-quoted admonition that 
the young man should go west was now taking root. Surely there 
was good reason underlying his sage counsel for, after his visit 
to the city in 1850, he wrote: 

... it requires no keenness of observation to see that Cincinnati is 
destined to become the focus and mart for the grandest circle of 
manufacturing thrift on this earth where food, fuel, cotton, timber, 
iron can all be concentrated so cheaply . . . that is, at so moderate a 

9 Weisenburger, op. cit., p. 44, and A. G. W. Carter, The Old Court House 
(Cincinnati, 1880), pp. 120-21. In Cincinnati, New Englanders were relatively few, 
but they were closely attached to each other. Among this New England group were 
such well-known figures as John C. Wright, William Green, Salmon P. Chase, and 
Bellamy Storer. 

lORoseboom, op. cit., p. 11. ". . . despite a significant increase in manu- 
facturing in the preceding decades, following the opening of the canal systems, the 
state had remained essentially agricultural with but one industrial city of metro- 
politan character. Even three of Cincinnati's most characteristic products, pork, 
whiskey and flour, were more closely related to the farm than to the factory." 

11 Kentuckians originally from Virginia constituted the major portion of the 
early settlers in Cincinnati, and the 1839 City Directory listed approximately 10,000 
out of a possible 40,000 names. Of these, 1,578 gave Germany as their birthplace; 
1,098 gave Pennsylvania; 916, Ohio; 717, Ireland; 717, New Jersey; 673, England; 
607, New York; 521, Virginia; 487, Maryland; with the rest from scattered coun- 
tries and states. See Cincinnati Gazette, Dec. 4, 1839, cited by Weisenburger, op. cit., 


12 Roseboom, op. cit. f pp. 11-12. 


cost of human labor in producing and bringing them together ... as 
here . . . such fatness of soil, such a wealth of mineral treasure . . . 
coal, iron, salt, and the finest clays for all purposes of use . . . and all 
cropping from the steep, facile banks of placid, though not sluggish, 
navigable rivers. How many Californias could equal, in permanent 
worth, this Valley of the Ohio! 18 

Fortunately, Ben was not compelled to seek and select a board- 
inghouse from among the hundreds that offered to lodge and 
feed him for a minimum of five dollars a week. A room in his 
married sister's house awaited his coming, and both sister Bet 
and Doctor Eaton extended a warm welcome. This move saved 
the needy legal neophyte some $300 a year by his own calcula- 
tion. 14 

After the usual introductions to the men in the office, and 
once the strangeness of the first week had passed, Ben found him- 
self pretty much taken for granted. He had been accepted as an 
unpaid apprentice to make himself useful in learning the law, 
and now he bent all his efforts toward making his mark in the 
eyes of the shrewd Bellamy Storer. From the outset, while he was 
given an almost endless series of papers to be copied in as fair a 
hand as possible, neither Storer nor Gwynne neglected to assign 
worthwhile books for study, and frequently they coached him in 
those legal principles and techniques which they believed worthy 
of special attention. 15 

Ben's predisposition for hard work carried over from his col- 
lege days, and his consistently faithful application to the pre- 
scribed readings as well as to the execution of the office tasks 
assigned him, greatly pleased Bellamy Storer. To his intimate 
college chum and former roommate, however, this almost fever- 
ish activity was a source of grave concern. After six months of 
silent foreboding, Anderson summoned sufficient courage to 

is Charles Cist, Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati in 1851 (Cincinnati, 1851), 


14 Benjamin Harrison to John Alexander Anderson, August 25, 1853, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. *. 

is It worked to Ben's advantage that he could study under the direction and su- 
pervision of Bellamy Storer, for "Few lawyers have been more honored in Western 
legal circles . . . [and] doubtless from contact with this really noble man young 
Harrison absorbed, at least, strength for certain other characteristics that after- 
wards helped materially to constitute him the conspicuous figure he was in military 
and civil life." Indianapolis Journal, March 14, 1901. 


warn Ben "you will most certainly result dangerously, if you 
continue your present mode of life, . . . you should have more 
sense than to throw yourself away by pursuing studies so closely 
that their attainment will be your death knell." 16 

When one considers the daily grind at the office and the long 
evenings at home devoted to poring over tomes of case histories, 
Anderson's friendly advice was evidently in good order. But 
neither advice nor taunts dampened Ben's quest. He refused to 
moderate his enthusiasm, and in reply to a query from his sister 
Anna as to what he did every day and how he passed his time, 
Ben wrote: 

I don't think it would interest you very much. I do the same things 
every day ... eat three meals . . . sleep six hours and read dusty old 

books the rest of the time If you could see me in my office my feet 

cocked up and a big book with a brown paper cover on it in my lap 
. . . you would think me a picture of content. I suppose you have read 
about the Great Desert. Well, my life is as about as barren of anything 
funny as the Great Desert is of grass. 17 

What did succeed, however, in upsetting Ben was not the mo- 
notonous schedule of copying and studying, but the conditions 
under which he had to live and work. As the months passed, his 
hatred of city life became almost an obsession. Sometimes he 
managed to snatch a brief vacation at The Point, but upon his 
return he complained bitterly that "my experience of the coun- 
try air only served to disgust me with the abominable compound 
of coal dust and mother earth which I am now inhaling." 18 To 
his family on the farm he wrote: "you think the city a very fine 
place but if you had to live here all the time you would soon get 
tired of it and long for the green grass and fresh air of Long 
View. It is very dusty in the streets today. It almost blinds you." 19 
Throughout the winter of 1852-53, and even in the more 
pleasant April days, Ben found little relief or distraction from 
his wearisome legal studies. At times he experienced serious mis- 
is j. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, February 9, 1853, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. a. 

IT Benjamin Harrison to Anna S. Harrison, March 31, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. a. 

18 Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, March 35, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

10 Benjamin Harrison to Anna Harrison, March 31, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. . 


givings, and on more than one occasion he confided his doubts 
to Anderson. Once, after he had been laid low by a hacking cough 
for two weeks, he wrote: 

I have been reading today the most abstruse and difficult branch, 
that most difficult part of the law of real estate . . . remainders. I have 
skimmed over fifty pages and confess that I am not a whit wiser than 
when I commenced. Such knowledge "is not worthy of the name of 
wisdom." 20 

When April rolled around, with its usual thunder showers, he 
was delighted. "It clouded up so darkly a while ago," he wrote, 
"that I had to light the gas . . . and now we are having a most 
drenching rain such showers are the temple of salvation to us 
poor denizens of this smoky dusty town." 21 

Despite a few lapses into homesickness and an occasional yearn- 
ing for the pursuits of the farm, Ben kept his nose to the grind- 
stone. To all outward appearances he was predominantly and 
enthusiastically preoccupied with his duties about the office and 
with his home study. Fortunately, however, he was able to avail 
himself of the excellent library facilities in the city, and within 
a few months of his arrival he was elected an honorary member 
of the Young Men's Mercantile Library Association. 22 By virtue 
of his membership he could consult the principal newspapers and 
periodicals of the country, and the club room often was the scene 
of an interesting public discussion on important political and 
legal questions. 23 Lest he lack balance in his social life, he tried 
to combine business with pleasure by sustaining his collegiate 
membership and interest in Phi Delta Theta activities, though a 
diligent regard for study prevented him from attending the an- 
nual fraternity dinner. 24 

Notwithstanding these activities, Ben still caught himself 

20 B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, April 20, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 


22 The Secretary of the Association wrote to Ben on December i, 1852, notified 
him of his election, and asked him to call and sign the Constitution. Ben sent the 
Association $4, covering one year's dues and the initiation fee. Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

28 D. V. Martin, "History of the Library Movement in Ohio," unpublished MA. 
thesis, Ohio State University, 1935, pp. 7, 26-29, 6 5* cite< * by Weisenburger, op. cit. t 
p. 182. 

24 J. A. Anderson to B. Harrison, December 24, 1852, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 


dreaming of "coy" 25 Carrie Scott. With his warm-hearted nature 
confined to the loneliness of a dimly gas-lighted room, he felt his 
separation keenly. He was not the kind to find a brother in every 
man, and Anderson, his college confidant, was still matriculating 
at Miami. Letter writing, then, was his best solace. The arrival 
of a letter from Carrie was a major event. At Oxford, Carrie was 
abnormally busy with the double burden of teaching music and 
sewing to younger girls as well as studying for her own gradua- 

Yet he was a bit impatient 26 with what he considered infre- 
quent letters and he complained that "she sometimes neglected 
me for a full week." 27 It became a standing joke with the post- 
office clerks when for days at a time they turned away empty 
handed the love-bewitched law student. He would return to his 
books but he could unearth no statute to assuage his pain at what 
he regarded as Carrie's cruelty. Only when he was able to set a 
definite date for their wedding would he enjoy saying of the 
jovial clerks: "I thank my stars that I shall be rid of their tan- 
talizing shakes soon." 28 

Ben alone was unable to solve the vexing problems of an early 
marriage, and during the first six months of 1853 he wrestled 
with it day after day without coming to any definite decision. 
His rather full correspondence for this period reveals him fre- 
quently on the very threshold of matrimony, yet the violent con- 
flict within prevented the final step. Failing to arrive at a decision 
by his own powers, he presented his problem to John Anderson, 
his trusted friend of college days. 

Ben stated his case fairly enough. More perplexing to him than 
any eight hundred pages of real-estate law was the paramount 
concern of safeguarding Carrie's considerably weakened health. 
Though ostensibly finishing her own studies at her father's 
school, she was frequently compelled to substitute as teacher in 
the music classes for the ailing Miss Neal. Moreover, her free 
moments were spent nursing at the bedside of her sick friend. 

25 ibid., December 7, 1852, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

26 He had been called an "impatient" suitor even at college. See Milton Saylor 
in Scrapbook No. 52, p. 93, Harrison MSS. 

27 Benjamin Harrison to J, Anderson, September 24, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

28 ibid. 


The strain, however, was too much for her slender frame. 
Anderson reported to Ben: 

. . . Miss NeaTs health has gradually declined until she is now not 
expected to live . . . poor Carrie ... I really believe her heart will 
break . . . she is at the bedside continually . . . but she left once or 
twice today and came down and talked with me, or rather to weep. I 
never saw such grief. It seemed as if her frame would literally shake 
to pieces. 20 

This caused Ben to mull over the problem of how he could rescue 
Carrie, and in the meantime he prayed that "the same God who 
tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, will give her strength to 
bear up under the affliction which threatens her/' 80 Finally, con- 
vinced that Carrie should get away for a rest cure, Ben made 
the trip to Oxford and spoke to Doctor and Mrs. Scott. They 
consented to allow Carrie to go East and visit her relatives 81 in 
Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Stimulated by Ben's visit, Carrie was 
able to set out alone. Evidently, the trip, the change of scenery, 
and the much needed rest restored her to normal health. Her 
subsequent letters made Ben smile again. 82 

While Carrie was away, Ben also took some time off to hunt 
squirrels around The Point. Here he received a letter which in 
all probability set the machinery of his mind in rapid motion 
once again. His correspondent was Bill Benton, who had been 
close to him at school, 88 and who was now a successful young 
lawyer. Under the circumstances, Benton's message must have 
given Ben cause for serious reflection. Here was a man his own 
age who had faced the same combined problem of love and law, 

29 J. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, Esq., February 2, 1853, Harri- 
son MSS, Vol. 2. 

so Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, March 4, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

31 Dr. Scott had married Miss Mary Potts Neal, daughter of John Neal, a promi- 
nent banker and business man of Philadelphia. In addition to Carrie there was an 
older sister, who had married Mr. Lord and settled in Wayne County. See Scrap- 
book No. 9, pp. 3-4, Harrison MSS. 

32 B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, March 25, 1853, "She seems to be better than 
she has been since she went East," Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

33 William T. Benton to Benjamin Harrison, March 5, 1853, "You doubtless long 
since have concluded that I have forgotten you and gone off to strange gods, but 
that is by no means the fact. Though married [on January 25], there is yet room 
in my heart for friends, true friends of whom I have found but few, but among 
whom Ben Harrison stands second to none," Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 


and had married. Now, almost three months after that step, he 
was well pleased with himself and all the world: "I am doing 
well ... my own boss . . . making from fifty to one hundred dol- 
lars per month. Such my dear fellow is the full history of my 
affairs." 8 * 

If Benton's letter acted as a stimulant to Ben's sense of gal- 
lantry and daring, still more did a brief note from Carrie about 
a month later. She sent him a newspaper clipping of a duel fought 
in Cincinnati by a grandson of General Harrison, apparently 
over some slight of honor on the field of love. Ben confessed to 
Anderson that he felt great chagrin because Carrie added to the 
clipping that "she almost knew it was not me." "What amazing 
confidence she has," the young suitor remarked. 35 

Shortly after Carrie's little quip, if not partially because of it, 
Ben arrived at the momentous decision. He and Carrie must be 
married within the next six months. First, they proposed to visit 
the relatives both at Oxford and at Honesdale, and Ben gloated 
to Anderson: "Yes, John, we have concluded to take Niagara in 
on our way and tarry a day or two to view the awful sublimity of 
that great cataract . . . going . . . thence to Buffalo and New York." 
In outlining his itinerary Ben performed a striking act of gen- 
erosity. He told John that he possibly might "not go at all. Irwin 
came up from home this morning; his health is very indifferent 
and I have offered to resign the proposed trip in his favor and 
take his place on the farm while he is gone. Of course it would 
be a great sacrifice for me to give up the only opportunity of see- 
ing Carrie I am likely to have, but if this trip is likely to benefit 
his health, I would do it cheerfully." 36 

Though some of Ben's friends even yet could not believe that 
this was a pre-honeymoon jaunt, or that he was in earnest about 
his early marriage, John Scott Harrison sent them on their way 
with a paternal benediction and prayer that "no accident or sick- 
ness may mar your pleasure." 37 After a brief interval at Hones- 
dale, Ben successfully passed the scrutinizing in-law test, and so 

84 w. T. Benton to Benjamin Harrison, March 5, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

85 Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, April 20, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

86 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, May 21, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

37 J. Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, June i, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 


overwhelmingly so, that a rumor sped back to Miami University 
to the effect that "Mr. Lord and his wife, Mr. Harrison and his 
sister and several friends from the city being present . . . Carrie 
Scott and Benjamin Harrison were this morning married." This 
was on July 2grd, and Anderson had all he could do to discredit 
the false report. 88 

Actually, the final decision to hold the nuptial ceremony in 
October was not made until the middle of August, at which time 
several factors forced Ben's determination. Carrie's health de- 
manded that she be relieved of her duties in the Institute, and 
Ben felt that "this would be a good time to press for her re- 
lease." 39 Moreover, Doctor and Betty Eaton's decision to sell their 
house in Cincinnati compelled Ben to add: "I shall be thrown 
out of a home in the city." Under the impact of these two emer- 
gencies, Ben went to Oxford, as he informed Anderson, 

... for the express purpose of arranging preliminaries for my mar- 
riage! 1 Yes, John, it is all arranged, the consent of all the parties in- 
terested having been obtained. The time is not fixed exactly but will 
be sometime this fall . . . probably in October. You know my reasons 
for taking this step so soon and I need not dilate upon them now. 
Keep this a secret from everyone. ... Do you consent? 40 

The hard, common-sense reply of Anderson, Ben's most trust- 
ed friend, was an adamant and unqualified refusal to give his 
consent. He wrote "why Ben, you are crazy . . . no, you ain't that 
either . . . Dr. Eaton's selling his house, and the necessity to keep 
Carrie from teaching, I predicate are the reasons. But after you 
are married, what then? The Point and your father at Congress. 
You and Irwin on the farm . . . then you are crazy." After settling 
down at The Point, then what? "Read law all day and talk to 
Carrie all night?" The rest of Anderson's letter was ribbed with 

38 Anderson, who contradicted the rumor, said: "What a fool I am to lose so 
good an opportunity of humbugging a set of gossips that have meddled so much 
in our affairs in time passed. . . ." J. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, 
July 23, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. a. 

89 Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, August 15, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

40 B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, August 19, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. Formal 
written permission was sought, however, on October 5, 1853, when Ben wrote to 
Doctor Scott and asked him to perform the ceremony. Benjamin Harrison to Doc- 
tor Scott, October 5, 1853, Benjamin Harrison MSS, Vol. 2, 


realism; he based his opposition to the marriage on solid reason- 
ing, not mere sentiment: 

I do not know much about your private financial resources, nor 
those of your father's own estate, but am under the impression that 
you are far from able to support Carrie as you will. You have no way 
to turn your mind and attainments into cask at present that I know 
of. Nor will you have for another year; then admitted like all young 
lawyers you must take your chances, and maybe two or three and most 
certainly one year before your profession will yield you support. . . . 
From Dr. Scott you can expect nothing, and your father will support 
you two as he has done, but will you let him? From my knowledge I 
should think not . . . then you need a law library which is in itself no 
small item, . . . Suppose that at the age s8 years, you stand free from 
debt, but has not your profession suffered? The axe with which you 
have cut your way through, is it not blunted and nicked? 41 

Of course, John left the usual loophole by admitting that "it is 
you that is to be married not / and every man can judge best for 
himself." He further pleaded, however: 

only Ben, remember that this world is not your friend, it is your en- 
emy and ... it requires hard labor to defend yourself. . . . Love is 
powerful as an incentive, but will it pass current for potatoes and 
beef? Coffee and muffins for two are not paid for by affection existing 
between the "two." Hard cash buys! Where will it come from?* 2 

This bombshell shattered Ben's equilibrium. For two days he 
was at a loss for an adequate reply. While he protested sincerely 
that he took no offense at what was written, "no, not the slight- 
est," 48 he felt constrained to inform John that "there was but one 
person [his father] whom I would take any pains to satisfy be- 
forehand." Ben frankly admitted that 

. . . many of my acquaintances, some of them good friends too, will 
prognosticate, as you have done, that marrying now, I "will never be 

41 J. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, August 20, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. This extremely long and frank letter was prompted by the strongest ties of 
personal friendship and was written as a direct response to Ben's request for John's 
"consent." Even before receiving Ben's next letter, John let it be known that, even 
if Ben should not change his mind, he would attend the wedding. See letter of 
August 22, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 2. 

42 J. Alexander Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, August 20, 1853, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 2. 

43 B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, September 7, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 8. 


more than half a man, if that"; and I know too how vain it would be, 
in general, to attempt to persuade them otherwise, . . . hence I have 
determined to let such people wait the issue for their consolation. 44 

Yet, Anderson was not placed in the category of a mere ac- 
quaintance. Out of fair consideration for their deep personal 
friendship, Ben unbent from his resolution of "watchful wait- 
ing," and attempted with boldness and eloquence to explain his 
motives as: 

. . . first and chiefly the delicate state of Carrie's health. The anxiety 
of an engagement of already two years standing, and still promising 
a very distant confirmation have told with fearful effect upon her 
constitution. . . . Now, while I cannot attempt to explain the nature 
of the connection between the mind and the body, my observation 
has taught me this, that mental suspense and anxiety operate more 
destructively upon health than many physical causes; .... 

You are partially informed of the delicate state of Carrie's health at 
present . . . sufficiently so, however, to judge, whether she is likely to 
survive two years more in the position she will necessarily occupy. Is 
she? You have already confessed to me that you did not believe she 
would live one. The question then, John, is narrowed down to this: 
Shall I marry Carrie now and thus relieve her of those harassing 
doubts and fears which wear away her life, or shall I agree to stand 
aside and let her hasten to an early grave? . . . 

An aunt of mine who was married last Spring, had been engaged 
to the same gentleman for five years . . . the engagement was formed 
while he was in his senior year at college. He finished his college 
course, studied medicine three years, and practiced one before they 
were married. During the last two years she became melancholy and 
her health gradually failed, until her friends became apprehensive 
that she would not live to see the time fixed for her marriage. She 
confessed to me herself that the anxiety of mind for so long an en- 
gagement was the sole cause of her ill health. She is still delicate and 
perhaps never will regain perfect health again. 45 

The answer was evident, but Ben, now practicing before the 
bar of his own conscience, had only opened his case. Deciding to 
put all his cards on the table, he asked John if he could meet his 
own proposition fairly stated: 

Grant your proposition that in two years I could acquire a compe- 
tence, nay, if you choose, amass a fortune, secure fame world-wide. I 

44 B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, August 35, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. a. 


come laden with yellow gold and the praises of the crowd to daim 
my bride . . . but she is gone, but long I seek for her in vain. I wander 
to the quiet graveyard, where we have so often walked together, my 
heart leads me to a humble grave over whose brown clods the turf 
has already healed ... I drop a tear, and with that first gold that 
severed us for life I build a monument "sacred to her memory" . . . 
and then, John, . . . what then? 

On the other hand I marry Carrie now . . . the relief it would bring 
to her anxious mind, and the greater care which she could give to her 
bodily health, would I trust in great measure restore her health. I 
should then have her long, to cheer me when worn and desponding 
and watch my own health with her greater care. 

Ben produced a surprise witness to testify on the advisability 
of his early marriage. John's own father, Dr. Anderson, was quoted 
to the effect that "if Carrie and I were not married now, this fall, 
we would never be. The reason he assigned, was that I would 
never live another year. In this view of the case how much better 
that we should be married now?" Ben added the coy comment: 
"Carrie might then watch at my bedside without impropriety. I 
would die easier with her hand under my head." 

Ben concluded his case "by addressing himself to the lower but 
more practical view of the subject the financial": 

Now for an exposition of my pecuniary resources. Once married I 
propose to take Carrie immediately to the Point and there continue 
the study of my profession, still under Mr. Storer's direction. Should 
I continue to study in the city after Doctor [Eaton] goes to the coun- 
try, I would be obliged to go to some boarding house or hotel where 
I would be a weekly expense of five dollars at least for board, washing 
and so forth. My expenses then, exclusive of clothes, would be at the 
smallest calculation $300 per annum. At the Point my board would 
cost nothing and Carrie would probably have a good stock of clothes 
to start on, this will be a small item for the first year $300 (the 
amount I would necessarily spend in the city) will certainly cover 
every expense for the first year. I will then be in a position to convert 
"my learning into cash." 

The inner conflict was at an end, and but two months re- 
mained before the wedding. For Ben, the intervening days were 
filled with pleasant expectation and serious preparation. Even 
though September's weather was stiflingly oppressive, "he read 
the law very closely," occasionally permitting himself a refreshing 
dream of Carrie and the happy day ahead. "I am persuaded that 


I can read as much law in four hours at The Point, where I will 
take proper exercise, as I now do in ten and a half. Three hours 
of exercise every day will change my physical appearance amaz- 
ingly in the course of a year. I shall be stronger as well as wiser." 46 
Unquestionably, Ben lived those weeks on borrowed happi- 
ness. Despite the fact that the office was ever crowded with wit- 
nesses and lawyers, he felt keen satisfaction because "the story 
of our marriage is gradually stealing about in whispers." 47 He 
kept up his correspondence with Anderson, and the conclusion 
of one rather lengthy epistle is clearly indicative of the medita- 
tive and poetic side of a man who has erroneously been described 
as thoroughly cold and completely unimaginative: 

Our office is quiet now, all the tenants save myself have quit until 
tomorrow. Darkness is fast setting upon this page and the straggling 
rays of light are fleeing as if frightened to join the sun behind the 
western hills. A thousand sturdy muscles stretched since early dawn 
are now relaxed, or only exercised by the swinging of the empty bit of 
bucket as the honest partisan hastens with quick step and eager heart 
to join the loved ones at home and enjoy with them a meager meal. 
'Tis night, night in a great city. Vice hidden all day long in darkened 
chambers now stalks boldly forth, to shock by its squalidness and 
misery, or tempt by its gaudy trappings in conventional respecta- 
bility. But I must dose. 48 

From shortly after Ben's twentieth birthday in late August un- 
til the day of their wedding, he and Carrie followed patterns of 
conduct wholly unpredictable but thoroughly amusing. She was 
intent upon keeping secret the day and the hour so as "to blind 
the curious." 49 When Ben visited Oxford, he found her acting 
and speaking in the presence of her students and friends "with 
as great circumspection as a nun before her abbess." 50 He added: 
"Her sewing she does in the privacy of her own chamber. Stu- 
diously avoiding an exposure of the suspected garments." Ben, 
on the other hand, steadfastly refused to be a victim of the "tyr- 
anny of a malicious and gossiping eye," for, as he put it, "con- 

46 Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, September 7, 1853, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. . 

47 Benjamin Harrison to J. Alexander Anderson, September 15, 1853, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 3. 


49 j. Alexander Anderson to B. Harrison, Sept. 17, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

co B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, Sept. 24, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


science approving, I shall act, though the whole world beside 
disapprove." There was a certain amount of good common sense 
underlying his attitude, for Ben held it as a principle that "the 
man who commits himself to the absurd task of pleasing every- 
body, is like a cork intrusted to the reversed and whirling cur- 
rents of the 'Devil's Hole* [Niagara], and the one is as likely to 
reach the ocean as the other is to maintain a dignified individu- 
ality in society/' 51 

This show of stoicism, however, was somewhat of a false front. 
As the days passed, Ben unbent sufficiently with Anderson to con- 
fess that "my spirits are much regulated by my moods in these 
times, now cheerful and talkative, and again silent, almost sad." 52 
When he roused himself from these fits, he seemed to renew his 
confidence by his determination to succeed in spite of every ob- 
stacle, as he was quick to add: 

I never lose my courage, however depressed my spirits may be. A 
young man with good health and a well trained mind is guilty of 
. . . cowardness, when he gives way to discouragement. "Faint heart" 
never did anything worthy of man; how then could it win "the fair 
lady" who prides herself upon the heroism and bravery of her lover. 

By far the most trying problem for Ben was his selection of the 
proper wedding garments. Only the timely arrival of his brother 
Irwin served to tranquilize his ruffled disposition. "Together," 
he writes to John Anderson, "we spent almost the entire morn- 
ing with tailors, boot makers, and gents furnishers." In retro- 
spect, Ben's account of this expedition for clothing is quite sig- 
nificant, though at the time it was peculiarly painful: 

Never did a more disagreeable, vexatious task fall to my lot: from 
the earliest thought of the matter to the possession of the last article, 
was one continued series of quandaries and perplexities, from each of 

51 This statement is typical of Ben's character and thought. The idea expressed 
here was to grow and mature with him, and thus accompany him into the arena of 
public life. In this same letter he stated as a companion principle: "Neither ought 
a man surrender himself to any unasked advice of friends. Let him never act upon 
such counsels, except he can make them entirely his own. I know no greater error 
than to take 'advice' upon authority. Mine is the responsibility." 

62 B. Harrison to J. A. Anderson, Sept. 30, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


which I was only released in the most desperate effort. I chose an 
entire suit of black, vest and all. 68 

Ben strongly suspected that his choice of a somber all-black 
wedding outfit would be regarded by many as an example of his 
lack of taste. But, like most things he did, this departure from 
the dictates of fashion was willful and premeditated. Not only 
did he select a black satin vest in place of the conventional "white 
vest of the drone," but he also indulged his early and growing 
fondness for a frock coat. 64 As he admitted: 

Instead of the swallow tail and dept dress, I ordered a frock coat. 
I am not entirely satisfied that I was right in this latter particular, but 
this I know: that I will look and feel better in the old "frock"!! I am 
very little concerned about my appearance, however, so long as I 
maintain gentility and avoid poverty. 55 

Ben found it difficult to pursue his studies with requisite at- 
tention, and finally he brushed aside his legal tomes with the 
confession: "I am tired of the suspense and dissipation of mind 
incident to the anticipation of such an event. I long to have the 
anticipation emerge into reality." 56 

With deep respect, Ben asked Dr. Scott if he would consent 
to perform the ceremony. He added understandingly, however, 
"it will perhaps be an embarrassing part for the father to assume 
the marriage of his daughter, yet, if it would not be too incon- 
sonant with your feelings, we would be glad to have it so." Ben 
felt it necessary to say a word also of the prospect he had of afford- 
ing Dr. Scott's daughter a comfortable home and support: 

For the present I shall offer a place in my father's house, where she 
will receive the welcome of a daughter and a sister. My present design 
is to "migrate" to Chicago in the Spring, when I will be able to obtain 
immediate admission to the Bar, and once admitted, the energetic 

SB ibid. 

54 Scores of contemporary and later writers have mentioned Harrison and his 
frock coat in one and the same breath. Typical is the statement of Col. W. H. Crook, 
Memories of the White House (Boston, 1911), p. 210: "Owing to his stoutness he did 
not look as tall as he really was, and perhaps for this reason he wore a silk hat and 
a frock coat when weather conditions permitted." 

65 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, Sept. 30, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


and patient pursuit of my profession will insure success. ... In a word, 
I pledge my best efforts for her happiness ... in the sincere hope that 
the time will meet with your approval and that you will consent to 
perform the ceremony. 17 

Procurement of the marriage license proved somewhat more 
embarrassing. Inasmuch as he had not yet attained his legal ma- 
jority, 58 Ben had to be accompanied by his father when he went 
to Hamilton, the county seat, where they obtained the license 
three days before the wedding. 59 

On Wednesday evening, October 19, Ben arrived in Oxford 
about nine o'clock and went directly to the Mansion House, 
where he put up for the night. 

October 20, 1853, dawned cool and brisk, and autumn wore 
its finest dress. Tradition has it that Dr. Scott performed the cere- 
mony in his own home, in the first-floor front room on the west 
side of the house. 60 As Carrie had desired, the wedding was a sim- 
ple one, with the family, a few guests 61 and no display of presents. 
The bride appeared in a simple gray traveling dress and Ben 
wore his new black suit. Immediately after the ceremony a wed- 
ding breakfast was served, and, as soon as it was polite to do so, 
the newly wedded couple left Oxford in a rattling old omnibus 
for Hamilton, thence to The Point. 62 

Uncertainty about the future lost some of its terror at least tem- 
porarily. Carrie's loving presence and encouragement replaced 
the anxiety of the courtship days and, thus fortified, Ben settled 
iown to the completion of his legal studies. His application was 

57 Benjamin Harrison to Rev. Dr. Scott, October 5, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

58 Ben took much good-natured jibing because of his minority status. Milton 
iaylor, his classmate from Miami, and later a Civil War colonel recalled at Harri- 
on's death in 1901: "Ben married before he was so [sic] and had to take his father 
vith him to get the license." Scrapbook No. 52, p. 93, Harrison MSS. 

59 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, Oct. 17, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

60 Ophia Smith, Old Oxford House, p. 75. 

61 John Anderson had been invited, in a note dated September 24, 1853, Harrison 
klSS, Vol. 3: "your father told me that you are expected home the third week in 
)ctober. On the soth of that month at six o'clock in the morning (can you get off 
o early?) I should be very happy to see you 'at home/ You must not look for any 
how. It will be a plain affair with as little ceremony as possible." 

62 Smith, op. cit., p. 73. The John W. Scott diary, found in the Harrison Home 
n Indianapolis, also records the event with stark simplicity. 


vigorous, and his earlier boast that he would accomplish so much 
more at home now seemed to be coming true. Within a week after 
the wedding bells, John Anderson was apprised of the happy eve- 
ning routine at The Point where Carrie "is now sitting at the fire 
plying her needle, while I was writing at the window. Possibly I 
may now and then raise my eyes from this page to watch for an 
instant her busy fingers. . . . Her presence and the consciousness 
that she is my wife . . . afford an infinitude of quiet happiness." 68 
Though Bellamy Storer's assignments for home reading and 
private study kept Ben well occupied with Blackstone, Coke, Lit- 
tleton and statutory law during the last six months of his training, 
Ben went frequently to Cincinnati for consultation, attendance 
at court, and further personal direction. These enforced absences 
from home served to make Ben a daily correspondent much to 
his own amazement. He narrated his dismay to Anderson: 

Since I parted with you Monday afternoon, I have been doing little 
else than attending court and writing letters to Carrie. I have often 
laughed at the idea of a man writing to his wife every day. I flattered 
myself that I should never be guilty of a similar weakness but my 
manly resolve was no sooner tested than broken. And now I plead 
guilty to the "soft impeachment." 64 

Departures, however, meant returns to home, study, hunting 
and Carrie, and this latter program Ben enjoyed to the full. 
Whenever he was frustrated in his desire for a bit of hunting, or 
Carrie was too weary to sit up the night talking to him, Ben was 
forced to resort to the grey goose quill for his entertainment, and 
he aptly designated it "that mighty instrument of little men." 66 
And he was soon to be afforded many opportunities to wield his 
pen to his own advantage. 

On December 6, John Scott Harrison left for the national 
House of Representatives to assume his duties as the newly elect- 
ed Whig from Hamilton County, Ohio. Ben spoke for the family 
and said: "we are all of us not a little depressed at the prospect 

63 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, October 27, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

64 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, November 10, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

Harrison to J. Anderson, Nov. 23, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


of being separated from him for so long a time." 66 John Scott 
himself was disturbed at the thought of "years of heartless excite- 
ment" in Washington, and in one of his first letters to his brother- 
in-law he complained: "I tried to make the best I can of a bad 
bargain, and still my thoughts are continually wandering from 
the hall of legislation to my children and my home"* 7 

Early in 1854, several months before his twenty-first birthday, 
Benjamin Harrison passed another important milestone in a ca- 
reer that was just beginning. Upon the successful completion of 
two years of close study, he was admitted to practice before the 
Ohio bar. 68 With this cherished goal happily attained, Ben and 
Carrie were in a position to give more careful consideration to 
their plans for the future. Basic to their intimate discussion of 
the problem was Ben's recently acquired conviction that he 
would under no circumstances remain in Cincinnati and attempt 
to build up a practice. A spirit of pride and independence nour- 
ished this view into a deep-rooted persuasion; as he confessed: "I 
long to cut my leading strings and acquire an identity of my own. 
Were I to continue on here it would be long ere that people 
should cease to regard me as a boy, and almost as long ere I should 
cease to regard myself as such." 69 

It was this reasoning that had strongly inclined Ben to settle 
in Chicago. Here he could be admitted to practice at any time, 
and, moreover, he conceived that the opportunities offered by its 
rapidly increasing population would be both rich and numer- 
ous. 70 Naturally, friends brought pressure to bear on him to stay 

66 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, Dec. 5, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. John Scott 
dated his first letter from Washington on December 13, 1853. Anderson wrote to 
Ben: "your father's absence will be sorely felt by all the 'Pointers' . . . tell Sallie 
and Jennie that in my day Pa constituted all the attraction and life of the place." 
J. Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, December 9, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

67 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, February 2, 1854, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. 

68 The year of Harrison's admission to the Bar in Cincinnati is variously given 
as 1853 and 1854. Roseboom, op. cit. f p. 206, places it in 1853. Marshall, op. cit., 
Ill, 793, does not give any date; he only mentions his admission to the Indiana 
bar in 1854. The obituary account in the Indianapolis Journal, March 14, 1901, lists 
1854 as date of admission in Cincinnati. The Indianapolis News, March 14, 1901, 
gives 1853. I* is the author's opinion that 1854 is the correct date and this is based 
on the usual length of study required at that period. 

69 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, October 3, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

70 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, September 30, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


in Cincinnati, "where he would have more friends and could 
fight his way through about as easily as in Chicago." 71 While 
these friendly pleadings may have caused some hesitation, it was 
the reception of T. B. Bryan's frank letter 72 that dissipated Ben's 
dream of establishing himself in Chicago, and he wrote to Ander- 

. . . the advantages which Chicago offers to young lawyers are not so 
flattering as I had anticipated but by no means discouraging. It had 
the effect to dissipate a very childish notion, which unbeknown to 
myself had (I fear) taken possession of my mind, viz: that Chicago 
was a place where fortunes and reputation might be acquired with- 
out the toil and crosses of a long tutelage. How noble an ideal! 73 

Despite the fact that lawyers were numerous in Chicago and 
many new ones were coming in from the East, Ben was not com- 
pletely disabused of his original plan to migrate there. He felt 
then, as do many legal neophytes today, that there was always 
room for "energetic, enterprizing young men." 74 With the sug- 
gestion, however, that he tarry in Cincinnati he did not sym- 
pathize. He refused to latch on to the hands of generous friends, 
and his newly found matrimonial wisdom told him that "charity 
given bread may nourish the body, but it does not invigorate the 
soul like the hard earned loaf." Ben resolved "to eat the hard 
earned loaf or starve," 75 and he had now only to choose the site 
of his first endeavors. 

During the early spring days of 1854 he decided on Indian- 
apolis. It was no hasty selection. Ben and Carrie weighed the 
advantages and disadvantages carefully, and rumors that the In- 
diana capital was the city of their choice were quite current dur- 
ing February. 76 Finally, in March, Ben made a personal visit and 
inspected conditions at first hand. He met with a cordial recep- 

71 J. Anderson to B. Harrison, October 6, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

72 Bryan described Chicago as a "young city, having the appearance of a village 
extended." On the other hand this same Chicago lawyer praised and preferred 
Cincinnati for "greater age . . . [with] far greater improvements and commercial 
advantages." T. B. Bryan to Harrison, October 3, 1853, Harrison MSS in Harrison 
Home, Indianapolis. 

78 B. Harrison to J. Anderson, October 10, 1853, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

is Ibid. 

78 j. Anderson to B. Harrison, February 27, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


tion and returned to The Point favorably impressed. Letters 
of introduction written by his father in Washington had not ar- 
rived in time, but this mattered little, for as John Scott Harrison 
put it, "the fact is your name is introduction enough to any of 
the old inhabitants of Hoosierdom the old men of Indiana who 
have become patriots of your grandfather and loved him as they 
loved no other public man." 77 

If Ben had not yet made up his mind to make the move, word 
from his cousin, William Sheets, must have helped. Sheets was 
already a successful business figure in Indianapolis. 78 At forty- 
nine, he enjoyed a reputation as a pioneer in the manufacture of 
paper, owned a paper mill, and was soon to branch out into sta- 
tionery and blank books. He had been elected Secretary of State 
in 1832 and again in 1840, retiring from Indiana politics four 
years later. His social circle was also large and influential. He 
had married Miss Randolph, of a celebrated Virginia family and 
the adopted daughter of General William Henry Harrison, held 
a high post in the Masonic order, and was active as a temperance 
advocate and an early supporter of education for the deaf and 
dumb. 79 His letter to Ben could not have arrived at a more op- 
portune time. 

I regret that I was not home when you were in our city. I hope you 
met with a cordial reception, and went away favorably impressed 
with our Hoosier capital. We think our city promises more, in the 
future, than almost any other place in the West. 

The young professional man who can make up his mind to make 
this his permanent home, and be content to grow with this place, 
must, in my judgment, succeed. 

The mercantile part of the profession has always become in this 
state . . . the mo$t lucrative. If you conclude to settle here, I advise 
you to make the acquaintance and secure the friendship of as many 
of the wholesale dealers in Cincinnati as you can, before you come. By 
this means you may very soon get into a good practice. Most of the 
members of the Bar, are moral, and some of them are pious men, but 
none of them very talented. I think you and your good lady would be 

77 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, March 25, 1854, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3: "Your letter of the nd was received today. I had heard by Betsy's letter 
that you had returned from Indiana and supposed you could not have received 
my letters of introduction. . . ." 

78 Indianapolis Directory, City Guide and Business Mirror; or, Indianapolis As 
It Is in 1855 (Indianapolis, 1855), p. 157. 

79 Indianapolis Daily Journal, March 5, 1872, obituary notice. 


pleased with the society here. The standard of morality among the 
better class of society is very high. Religious privileges are very good 
also; in the First Presbyterian Church, old school, we have the Rev. 
John A. McClung, who is a rare man. Should you conclude to cast 
your lot among us, it will afford me great pleasure to aid in any way 
in my power. You must come, at once, to our house, without stopping 
at a hotel, and remain with us until you can find a pleasant boarding 
house. It will be a pleasure to introduce you to our friends. Give our 
kind regards to cousin Carrie. 80 

This enthusiasm matched Ben's own impressions. The die was 
cast. Carrie and Ben prepared to move to Indianapolis and make 
their own way in a new world of change and uncertainty. 

so William Sheets to Benjamin Harrison, Esq., March 18, 1854, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 



w- -w- -yiTH DETERMINATION in their eyes and optimism in 
\ /\ I their hearts Ben and Carrie were Indianapolis-bound. 
y \ So meagre were their personal possessions that they 
were able to cram them into one huge box, which they shipped 
on ahead to the home of William Sheets. 1 Ordinarily, leave-tak- 
ing would be an event filled with depression, but twin strokes of 
good fortune removed all shreds of regret. Ben fell heir to some 
property in Cincinnati on which he was able to raise $800 in 
cash, 2 and John Scott Harrison, who drew eight dollars a day as 
a member of Congress, promised a farewell present of at least 
$5oo. 8 No patrimony could have been more timely. 

On the trip to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where they were to 
entrain for the state capital, they both realized how much it 
meant to give up an old home and old friends. Nor was Ben's 
parting made easier when he slipped from the envelope his sis- 
ter had given him a poem in her own hand: "To My Brother 
on His Departure from Home." 4 Once the twinges of grief had 
subsided, Ben and Carrie settled down to enjoy the scenery along 

lOn April 4, 1854, Benjamin Harrison paid 9 id freight charges to the Indian- 
apolis and Cincinnati Railroad for the transportation of one box from Lawrence- 
burg to Indianapolis, shipped in care of W. Sheets. See Personal Bills and Notes, 
1854, i box, Harrison MSS. 

2 Harriet Mclntire Foster, Mrs. Benjamin Harrison (Indianapolis, 1908), p. 9; 
also J. . Morison and W. B. Lane, Life of Our President Benjamin Harrison, 
p. 107: "$8oo . . . money advanced on a piece of property he had inherited from an 
Aunt who had married a soldier in the war of 1819." In the Indianapolis Journal, 
June 30, 1888, are the details of his desire to use this inheritance to support himself 
and his wife while he became established in his profession. Not being of age, how- 
ever, he was unable to make a deed of sale, and a friend gave bond that the deed 
would be made when he attained his majority. 

3 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, March 25, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

4 Harrison MSS, Vol. 3, No. 462. 



the bed of the recently completed Indianapolis and Cincinnati 
Road. 5 Ben remembered something of the sights he saw, and 
wrote home that "it was a panorama of swamps, frogless swamps 
and bare-legged Hoosier children." 6 Four and a half hours after 
leaving Lawrenceburg they arrived in their new world, Indian- 

In the 1850*5 America possessed few more interesting and more 
promising states than that of the Hoosiers. Its population was 
growing and in 1854 numbered more than 1,200,000, occupying 
an area of 22,000,000 acres of richly fertile soil, "nearly all of it 
available for agricultural purposes, and the whole capable of sus- 
taining an immense population." 7 Coal fields, within a couple of 
hours ride from Indianapolis, were of fine quality; moreover, the 
beds lay near the surface and could be worked with great facility. 
These gifts alone would nourish into prominence cities like Gary, 
Hammond, and East Chicago, so that Indiana would emerge a 
leader in pig iron and steel output. Everything joined to offer 
natural facilities for manufacturing. 8 

Within five miles of the geographical center of the state, origi- 
nally a mile-square plot of "intrenched wilderness" 9 on the west 
fork of the White River, was Indianapolis, the capital. Previous 
to 1847 fr was 3 ust an other American inland city whose meagre 
population of 4,000 knew comparatively little trade and less 
manufacture. By 1854, however, the inhabitants numbered 10 
nearly 16,000 and the hum of machinery was heard everywhere; 

& Indianapolis Directory, 1868 (Indianapolis, 1868), p. 53: "The Lawrence- 
burg and Upper Mississippi Road was originally begun in sections or several 
roads in 1850, a through road being bitterly and successfully opposed by the Madi- 
son Company, but was finally chartered in 1851, and finished to Lawrenceburg, 90 
miles, in October 1853 under George H. Dunn, the first President. The name was 
changed December, 1853 to the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Road." 

6 Benjamin Harrison to Anna Harrison, May 10, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

7 Indianapolis Directory, 185$. 

8 "The advantages possessed by Indianapolis for profitable investment of capital 
and labor, in every department for industry, bear favorable comparison with those 
of any other city in the West. ... A population of at least three millions, residing 
in Indiana and adjoining states look to us for the supply of many articles of every 
day use." Indianapolis Directory, 185*], pp. 50-53. 

d "Indianapolis was located and laid out in 1820, and on January 6, 1821 it was 
incorporated . . . the original town plot was one mile square." Ibid. t p. v. 

10 To give some idea of the rapid growth of the city an examination of the 
population figures from 1830 to 1855 is essential: in 1830, 1,085; " l8 34 l <x>'* in 
1840, 2,692; in 1847, 8,504; in 1855, 16,000, showing an increase in six years of 
almost 100 per cent. Grooms and Smith, op. cit. 9 p. vi. 


eight railroads, comprising 1,500 miles of track, had been com- 
pleted; seven others, totaling 900 miles, were rapidly approach- 
ing completion. Hoosiers saw that the railroads were revolution- 
izing their commerce, and they appreciated the fact that they 
themselves as well as their freight were being transported almost 
as cheaply by rail as they had been by water. Locomotive and car 
building made giant strides, and the city was rightfully heralded 
in her new role as one of the principal manufacturing points in 
the country. 11 

While public-spirited citizens and city tradesmen spoke glow- 
ingly of present and future blessings, the city was still one "of 
muddy boots and torn clothes," where people made "desperate 
attempts at finery; glass jewels and French silk dresses, which 
after having found no purchaser in New York, have been sent 
west." 12 In 1852, Madame Theresa Pulszky, visiting from Hun- 
gary in company with Kossuth's party, stopped off at Indianapo- 
lis and saw: 

Some of the mothers had their babies in their arms; workmen ap- 
peared in their blouses or dusty coats, just as they came from the 
workshop; fanners stepped in high boots. Once more we saw that the 
house of the Governor is the property of the people. And yet this in- 
congruous mass did not behave unbecomingly to a drawing-room. 
There was no rude elbowing, no unpleasant noises, or disturbing 
laughter. Had they but shaken hands less violently! I yet feel western 
cordiality in my stiff arm. 18 

Indianapolis occupied the middle of a shallow basin, whose 
surrounding area rose gradually for miles through a region "once 
densely covered with large hardwood trees, and in many places 
on the city site were extensive thickets of prickly ash and spice 

11 "From 1847 to 1850 several saw and grist mills, two foundries, steam engine 
and machine shops, a peg and last factory, a planing mill, several slaughter houses 
. . . were built and put into successful operation. ... By 1857 the number of plants 
was greatly increased and a new variety was introduced. Two woolen factories, a 
large foundry and machine shop, two barrel factories, four chair and cabinet fac- 
tories . . . boiler, carriage and wagon factories, etc." Indianapolis Directory, 1857, 
pp. 44-45. 

12 Jacob Piatt Dunn, Greater Indianapolis (Chicago, 1910), I, 188. The au- 
thor quotes liberally from early diaries and writings of visitors to the city. 

13 Cited from Mme Pnlszky's diary by J. P. Dunn, loc. cit. 


wood." 14 Hunters seldom returned unsuccessful from the chase. 
As late as 1842 saddles of venison sold for from twenty-five to fifty 
cents, turkeys ten to twelve cents, and a bushel of pigeons for 
twenty-five cents. The river was so full of fish that an early settler 
declared "a stone thrown in it anywhere, from the graveyard ford 
to the mouth of Fall Creek, would strike a shoal of fish." 15 Be- 
cause of such abundance, the Delaware and the Miami Indians 
yielded the country with great reluctance. Many of them lingered 
in the vicinity after the treaties were signed. 16 While they had no 
permanent village at Indianapolis proper, their hunting and fish- 
ing camps were numerous to the north of the city site, and a 
traveler who passed up the river several years before the settle- 
ment related that the banks were then dotted with wigwams, and 
the river often dotted with canoes. 

Spring was full upon Indianapolis when Ben and Carrie ar- 
rived. Their first impressions of the city and its society were in 
strong contradiction to the rather bizarre and false opinions 
formed by foreigners passing through the country. In the young 
couple's eyes the people seemed to be living a plain and whole- 
some kind of life. There was little disposition to flaunt wealth, 
even when it existed. Rather, the people liked to think of them- 
selves as belonging to an older and more democratic school of 
thought in which wealth and ostentation did not constitute social 
position. The woman who "kept a girl" was socially no better 
than her neighbor who could not afford the luxury. Extraneous 
wants for the average family were few. Food and shelter, cloth- 
ing and doctor's fees, along with the usual assessments for church 

14 "The first history of Indianapolis was prepared by Ignatius Brown, and pub- 
lished as part of the City Directory of 1857. Mr. Brown was a patient delver in his- 
torical material, and in the course of the next decade ... he revised and enlarged 
his work and republished it in the city directory of 1868. This second publication 
was more than four times as large as the first, and has been the basis of all the 
history that has since been published . . . errors and all." Dunn, op. dt., Preface, i. 

15 Indianapolis Directory, 1868, pp. 1-93, contains Brown's revision of the detailed 
history of the city from 1818 to 1868. 

16 Dunn, op. cit., I, a, writes that "in October, 1818, both tribes were assembled 
at St. Mary's, Ohio, where Jonathan Jennings, Lewis Cass and Benjamin Parke, for 
the United States, made treaties with them. On October 3rd the Delawares relin- 
quished 'all their claims to the land in the state of Indiana.' " On October 6th the 
Miamis also agreed to vacate Indiana. 


and city, made only moderate inroads on one's financial re- 
sources. 17 

The young wedded couple was fortunate in the city of their 
choice, and equally fortunate in their initial protector, William 
Sheets. His home was located on the corner of Pennsylvania and 
Ohio Streets, later the site of the Denison Hotel. Here, Cousin 
Carrie and her lawyer husband were warmly received. They en- 
joyed the Sheets hospitality for a few days, while searching for 
quarters where they might keep house for themselves. They 
quickly found a place in a two-story frame house further up on 
Pennsylvania Street. The second story was occupied by another 
newly married couple, a Dr. and Mrs. John M. Kitchen. 18 

John and Mary Kitchen seemed to get along splendidly with 
Ben and Carrie Harrison, and even after a half century the doc- 
tor painted a pleasant word picture of his early associations with 

He was kindly, agreeable and studious, reserved even then, but at- 
tracting persons to him by his intellectual qualities. He was a man of 
notably clear character and made a success of everything he under- 
took. I do not remember that he belonged to any secret society, nor 
did he, as was in that day thought necessary to every young man who 
had social, business or political aspirations, join any of the volunteer 
fire companies, of that period. I do not think he ever had an acquaint- 
ance with anyone that ripened into the hottest kind of friendship. I 
have been hunting with him. He never pushed himself into the com- 
pany of other hunters. While he was a very good shot, I do not think 
he was much of a fisherman. 19 

A fire soon drove the young couple out on the streets in search 
of another lodging. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, for 
$7.00 board and rent per week 20 was certainly far beyond the 

17 For social background for the 1850-60 period see J. H. Holliday, Indianapolis 
and the Civil War (Indianapolis, 1911), pp. 530-35. 

18 Dunn, op. ciL, II, 796-97. This is at variance with the account found in the 
Indianapolis Journal, July i, 1888, where a three-room cottage on Vermont St. is 
called the first Harrison home. Evidence in other newspaper clippings, especially 
in the Indianapolis News, March 15, 1901, seems more reliable and confirms Dr. 
Kitchen's account. 

19 Indianapolis News, March 15, 1901. 

20 in a box marked "Bills and Notes, 1854," Harrison MSS, there is a receipted 
rent and board bill to the amount of $49.00. This covered their occupancy from 
April 4 to May 23. It was typical of Ben to make a pencil notation on the receipt 
that a mistake of one week's board was corrected and that he was credited with 


means of a young, unknown and clientless lawyer. Carrie, more- 
over, was now well advanced in her pregnancy and required 
medical attention. Her physical strength was no longer equal to 
household tasks, and the cost of hiring a girl, as well as mounting 
doctor's fees, made Ben give pause to ways of economizing. 21 Un- 
der the press of these circumstances, he consented to Carrie's 
returning to Oxford and remaining with the Scotts until their 
first child should be born. He himself vowed to remain alone in 
Indianapolis and to bend every effort to create and build up a 

Ben's early, roseate dreams of quick success at the Indiana bar 
had been rudely shattered. It was not all his fault. The nature of 
law practice was peculiar at that time, and although he struggled 
and searched, fees, even small ones, and clients were *iot easily 
found. He found that he could not attach himself to any firm of 
specialists, for at that time the important and lucrative fields of 
corporation, patent and commercial law were not yet developed. 
Actually, the leaders of the bar were to use the phrase of the 
day "nisi prius" lawyers: men who were accustomed to travel 
the rounds of the circuit with the presiding judge. The early In- 
dianapolis lawyer was a professional angler; all sorts of fish came 
into his net. He was compelled to pull in everything that came 
along, whether it was a five-dollar case tried before a county 
squire or a remunerative railroad foreclosure suit handled in 
federal court. Indeed, it was not until the decades after the Civil 
War that the Indiana bar assumed rank with some of the leading 
legal centers of the nation. When this came to pass, some of the 
older attorneys recollected that in the early 1850*8 it was not an 
uncommon thing for the then leading legal sages to begin the 
morning "with a skirmish in Squire Sullivan's court about the 
ownership of a flock of vagrant geese" 22 and wind up their day's 
work with a lively debate in federal court over a case involving 
large interests and important principles of equity and jurispru- 

21 In addition to doctor and medicine bills, Ben was obliged to foot a $51.50 
bill for furniture (Tilford and Co.). He met this on April 10, 1854. 

22 w. P. Fishback in New York Evening Post, December, 1888, Benjamin Harri- 
son Scrapbook No. 9, Harrison MSS, which forms the substance and in some in- 
stances the verbatim account given by Charles W. Taylor, The Bench and Bar of 

TnfJfnnn /TnHianflnnlic iftne\ nr one ifi 


This type of practice had its drawbacks as well as its advantages. 
Most fees were small, though they were fairly numerous to the 
lawyer whose enlarged acquaintance among his fellow citizens 
netted him many petty suits dealing with the collection and pay- 
ment of debts, wills, mortgages, foreclosures, divorces and other 
routine matters. Ben's unfamiliarity with Indianapolis and its 
environs and his boyish appearance militated against his employ- 
ment as counsel in such cases. To the new lawyer trying to break 
in, it was difficult to make the right acquaintances and to become 
known in business and social circles. Yet, as long as he was kept 
out by the bar of unfamiliarity, the more he was denied the 
opportunity of meeting many prospective clients and of study- 
ing human nature at close range. Yet, once this break-through 
was made, Indiana's type of professional practice gave strength, 
breadth and adaptability to a young lawyer's intellectual powers. 
It was a wonderful safeguard against merely a narrow competency 
in one field; more positively, it fostered intellectual activity on a 
front both varied and comprehensive. Of all of these possible ad- 
vantages Ben was keenly aware. 

He was well along the road to discouragement and financial 
insolvency before the tide of fortune turned. Board and food 
bills fell due with clocklike regularity and, with Carrie away at 
Oxford, loneliness engulfed him. Idleness, the ghost he feared 
most, stalked his path. He could not afford his own office, and 
clients were too few to justify borrowing any money for this pur- 
pose. Finally, his break came. Through the kindness of John H. 
Rea, 23 then Clerk of the United States District Court, Ben secured 
office space in the State Bank Building located on the triangular 
square opposite the Bates House. He was now in a position to 
meet fellow lawyers, business men and artisans. A second boon 
followed. By the kindness and friendship of United States Mar- 
shal John L. Robinson and his deputy, George McOuat, he was 
appointed court crier, at a salary of $2.50 per day. 24 

These two fortuitous events contributed immeasurably to 
Ben's renewed resolution to persevere. And, to help matters 
along, his father was never too preoccupied with the debates on 

23 Indianapolis Journal, March 14, 1901. Indianapolis City Directory, 1855, 
spells his name "Ray." 

** Ibid. Also see Morison and Lane, op. cit., p. 107. 


the Nebraska Bill to forget to replenish Ben's coffers with an oc- 
casional check for $25.00 or $5o.oo. 25 Ben soon added to his own 
earnings. Tradition has it that he pocketed his first fee, a five 
dollar gold piece, for prosecuting and convicting a man who had 
obtained money under false pretenses. 26 It came the hard way. 
He had to hire a horse and ride a muddy road ten miles into the 
country to Clermont, where he tried his case before a justice of 
the peace whose back yard was an open-air court room. 27 A fee 
was a fee and no trouble was considered too great. As Ben him- 
self remarked in later life: 

They were close times, I tell you. A $5 bill was an event. There 
was one good friend through it all Robert Browning, the druggist. 
I shall always recollect him with gratitude. He believed in me. When 
things were particularly tight I could go into his store and borrow $5 
from the drawer. A ticket in its place was all that was required. Such 
friends make life worth living. 28 

Although the skies were not brightening too perceptibly, the 
young lawyer was able to see that at least some of the clouds were 
lined with silver. 

Ben's diligent study of the Indiana statutes and his routine 
work around the court did not go unnoticed. Attracted by Har- 
rison's show of promise, Major Jonathan W. Gordon, then prose- 
cuting attorney for Marion County, invited Ben to assist him in 
the prosecution of a case known at the time as the Point Lookout 
burglary. Because of Gordon's reputation as one of the leading 
members of the bar, as well as the high calibre of the opposing 
counsel, Ben hastened to accept the engagement for the experi- 
ence in trial work it would afford him. He felt a new pride in sit- 
as John Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, May 19, 1854, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 

26 Morison and Lane, op. cit., p. 107. 

27 New York Press (?), March 14, 1901, Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 52, 
p. 77, Harrison MSS. The justice of the peace was John P. Martindale, uncle of the 
late prominent Indianapolis attorney, Emsley W. Johnson, Sr., senior member of 
the law firm, Johnson, Zechiel and Johnson. Mr. Johnson stated he heard his uncle 
tell of this Clermont case upon numerous occasions. Emsley W. Johnson, Sr., to 
the author, March 3, 1950. 

28 House Document No. 154, p. 100. Also the Robert Browning of whom Ben 
speaks was the remaining partner of the once famous Craighead & Browning, deal- 
ers in drugs, medicines, and chemicals at No. 22 West Washington St. See Indian- 
apolis Directory, 1857, p. no. 


ting with the prosecutor, and during the trial took copious notes. 
As a brilliant defense was made by ex-Governor David Wallace 29 
and Sims Colley, two of the community's most distinguished 
lawyers, Ben listened intently. 30 

The trial was somewhat lengthy and, as it reached its final 
stages, the court determined to hold an evening session and thus 
allow the prosecution to close its case. This decision conflicted 
with Major Gordon's plans for that evening, for the chief prose- 
cutor was most desirous of attending a lecture by Horace Mann. 
The physical impossibility of bilocation worked to Ben's advan- 
tage; during the supper recess Gordon told him he would have 
to make the concluding summary to the jury. And with that the 
elder man was off to the lecture. 

That evening the court met by the dim light of old-fashioned 
tin sconces and candles. Ben was full of trepidation lest he might 
not acquit himself with credit, for he recognized the importance 
of the situation as well as the power of the men opposed to him. 31 
Sitting in the dim shadow cast by the light of the one candle the 
sheriff had left on his desk, Ben felt somewhat fortified as he 
fondled the copious notes he had made during the trial. When 
he rose, to open the state's summation to the jury, consternation 
flooded his soul as he discovered that the poor lighting would not 
allow him to read what he had so carefully compiled. Neverthe- 
less, he began his argument, trying again and again to make out 
the dim pencilings he had made. It was useless. 

Straightway he abandoned all reliance on notes and proceeded 
to make his argument from memory. As he progressed, he dis- 
covered with growing encouragement that he remembered the 
evidence perfectly. Thrown upon his own resources, he made the 
most of his natural faculty for easy, impromptu speech. Follow- 
ing the judge's charge to the jury, young Harrison received con- 

29 David Wallace, who succeeded as Governor in 1847, must have been known 
to Harrison long before his arrival in Indianapolis. While David Wallace was still 
a child, his father moved to Cincinnati, where he became a close friend of General 
William Henry Harrison. It was to his son, David, that the General gave the ap- 
pointment as a cadet to West Point, passing over his own son, John Scott Harrison. 
Governor Wallace was well known in Indiana; he served in the Indiana Constitu- 
tional Convention of 1850 and was later elected Judge of the Common Pleas Court 
in 1856. He held this office until his death in 1859. J. P. Dunn, Indiana and Indi- 
anans (Chicago and New York, 1919), i, 420-21. 

30 Indianapolis Journal, March 14, 1901. 

31 Indianapolis Journal, June 30, 1888. 


gratulations from every side, 82 but what pleased him most was 
the warm compliment of David Wallace. 38 The story had a happy 
ending, as the jury returned a verdict of guilty. 

Shortly after this pleasant introduction to trial procedure Ben 
was appointed by the City Attorney to assist in the prosecution of 
a hotel servant charged with poisoning a guest's coffee. At the 
time of his assignment, Ben, like most of the citizens of Indian- 
apolis, knew little or nothing about the nature of poison and its 
effects on the human body. Such knowledge came within the 
range of physicians and chemists, and of this latter group the city 
was barren. 84 As the trial was set for the next day, there was only 
one night in which Ben could find out all he could about poisons. 
He went directly to the Post Office Building to the second floor 
where his friend Dr. Kitchen shared an office with a Dr. Parvin. 
The latter was alone in the office and Ben got down to work im- 
mediately. For ten hours he studied Parvin's books and with the 
doctor's aid succeeded in mastering a large number of facts, medi- 
cal facts, on the nature and operation of poisons in the human 
system. The sequel was well narrated by a local newspaper re- 

From sun to sun the young lawyer cross examined the physician, 
and then he entered the court room to confound the other physicians. 
The long row of gray-haired and bespectacled experts were so put to 
it by this tow-headed boy that the sensation of the case was trans- 
ferred from the crime to the prosecution. 85 

On the strength of Ben's performance the criminal was convicted, 
but the talk of the time was the amazing display of such knowl- 
edge on the part of a lawyer. 

These moderate successes, though not highly remunerative, 
earned him enough prominence to induce Governor Joseph A. 
Wright to entrust him with the conduct of a legislative investiga- 
tion. 36 His efficient execution of this task earned him further 

82 House Document No. 154, p. 100. 

83 According to the Journal's account, Wallace put his hand on Harrison's head 
and complimented him in the highest manner, predicting for him a brilliant and 
successful future. 

84 Indianapolis News, March 14, 1901. 

85 Ibid. 

86 Indianapolis Journal, June 30, 1888. 


fame, and soon clients came his way and their fees were solid 
food to a financially famished attorney. 

Ben's happy turn in fortune came none too soon. At Oxford, 
Ohio, on Saturday, August is, 1854 just eight days before Ben's 
twenty-first birthday Carrie gave birth to a boy. They named 
him Russell. 87 Congress had recessed, and John Scott Harrison 
was at home resting when the news of Russell's birth came. In 
his own quiet way he rose to the occasion and honored the proud 
parents with a significantly beautiful letter. Part of his epistle 
was directed to Ben: 

You now stand, my dear son, in a new relation in life a relation 
that will be attended with new joys and also new cares and responsi- 
bilitiesthat the former may outnumber the latter I hope with all my 
heart. And yet my experience tells me that life is very much of a 
mixed draught in which the bitter and the sweet are pretty fairly 
or at least equally contributed afflictions, sometimes bring joys and 
again, joys afflictions, and so we are all never perfectly happy, and 
never so miserable, that hope does not spread a small ray on the sur- 
rounding darkness. 

And to Carrie he sent warmest congratulations and love; he asked 
Ben to tell her that 

I wish her all of a young mother's joy. I will not say without a 
young mother's anxiety, for I believe in that very anxiety is entwined 
her pleasure and her joy but I will say that T hope she may escape 
those many little pains and annoyances which so often afflict a young 
mother. 38 

As Indianapolis in late summer and early fall tended to be 
damp and unhealthy, Ben thought it wise that Russell should not 
be brought to the city until better conditions prevailed. Hence, it 
was decided that Carrie and the baby should stay with Dr. and 
Mrs. Scott until it was safe to bring Russell to live with his Har- 
rison relatives at The Point. Ben, and Carrie too, were very anx- 
ious that the child should enjoy early in life the healthful and 

37 The child was named after Russell Farnura Lord who had married Carrie's 
older sister, Elizabeth. They were married in 1849 an( * made their home in Hones- 
dale. Indianapolis News, Dec. 10, 1889. 

38 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, August 19, 1854, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 















gorating air so traditionally characteristic of a farm. The in- 
grew strong and in a few weeks he found himself on display 
:g the banks of the Ohio. This latest addition to the Harrison 
ily, as might be expected, became quite a pet in the old house, 
in the not altogether objective opinion of grandfather John 
t Harrison "he is one of the handsomest infants I ever saw/' 39 
en cherished every piece of news he could get about his pride 
joy; every tidbit kept him going in his daily efforts to build 
. practice. Though he made every possible effort, his utmost 
savors netted him no great financial return. This fact, along 
L Carrie's protracted absence, accentuated his low spirits. For- 
itely, there is preserved a letter never intended for the public 
but it is a perfect mirroring of the future President's heart- 
ded secrets. To Carrie he wrote: 

lear wife, 

ao* a letter will not go out today I cannot forbear writing you as 
1 lonesome and have nothing particular to do. I met Mr. Rea at 
Depot on his way to Lafayette, he expects to be gone all week, 
I shall be without company both at the House and at the office, 
mist bind myself more closely to my books and then I shall feel 
vant of company less. 

. You do not know how disheartened I feel sometimes, at the 
pect of sitting in my office, for long months, without getting any- 
r to do. I know I should feel contented if I only had some busi- 
to occupy my attention, however trifling the profits might be. 
ed I would almost be willing to work for nothing, just for the 
of being busy. But however much I may be discouraged at the 
sect, I never suffer myself to falter in my purpose I have long 
made up my mind that with God's blessing and good health 
uld succeed, and I never allow myself to doubt the result, 
is a great relief in these seasons of depression to have your society, 
[ long very much for it now but it seems better that you should 
in where you are, for a season. I hope our place will soon become 
liy; indeed, it is becoming so, at least so Mrs. Dr. N[ewcomer] 40 
the doctor himself I have not seen. I do not know whether Mr. 

fohn Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, September 30, 1854, Harrison 
Vol. 3. 

Dr. and Mrs. Newcomer were devoted personal friends of Ben and Carrie; 
s their family physician until the Civil War, and attended Mrs. Harrison at 
rth of their second child. 


Sheets' family have returned or not I will leave this unfolded until 
tomorrow, and will add something more if I learn anything worth 
communicating. Much love to all the family and kisses for the Babe, 

Your affectionate husband, 
Benja Harrison. 

[Wednesday morning] 

I ate an oyster supper, at Dr. N's, last night, by special invitation, 
and after smoking a segar, went home, read awhile and retired early. 
This morning I feel quite brisk and much more like study. The Dr. 
says the sickly season is generally over by September agrd and that 
the health of our place is now improving. I suppose there is no rea- 
son why you should not come out by the first of October. I will have 
everything ready to receive you by that time. It is quite cool this 
morning, and a fire in the morning and the evening will soon be 
necessary to comfort. I am glad cold weather is approaching; you 
know I always enjoy the winter season. Love to all. Write often and 
let me know how you and the babe get along. I had a bad dream 
about him last night, 


The first week of October had slipped by before Carrie, with 
Russell in her arms, finally arrived at Indianapolis. 42 They rented 
a more modest residence in the eastern part of the city, a one- 
story wooden building witn three rooms, bedroom, dining room 
and kitchen. Outside, there was a shed where Carrie could do her 
cooking in summer. Since their tight budget precluded the hiring 
of a servant, it was Ben's good pleasure to help his wife all he 
could. He knuckled down to his job admirably. Before going to 

41 This letter was a personal keepsake of General Harrison and he kept it hidden 
away in a small drawer of the desk that adorned his office until he died. This hand- 
some desk was removed to his home on North Delaware St. where it is preserved 
among other Harrison relics in the attic museum. The desk, presumably emptied 
out completely by the family, was discovered by Mrs. Ruth Woodworth, curator of 
the Harrison Home, to have concealed two intimate letters addressed to "My dear 
wife" and "Dear C?rrie" under dates of September 19, 1854, and January 5, 1855. 
The Arthur Jordan Foundation of Indianapolis, restorers and present owners of 
the Harrison Home, gave the Library of Congress photostatic copies of these letters 
on July 12, 1940, now listed as A.C. 6322 among the papers of Benjamin Harrison. 

42 Among the Benjamin Harrison Collection (Library of Congress) there is one 
box marked "Personal Notes and Bills, 1854." The rent receipts show that Ben had 
paid one board bill from July 15 to August 28 for $13.00. (This was for himself at 
a rate of $2.00 per week.) There is another rent receipt for $32.72 covering August 
29-October 9 ($5.00 per week for one person). The subsequent bills, beginning with 
Oct. 9, 1854, show him renting for Carrie, himself, and the baby. 


his office in the morning, he sawed all the wood Carrie would 
need for the day. When he came home for his noon day meal, he 
would fill up a water bucket and attend to the other chores about 
the house. 48 

At the office his luck seemed to improve. During the fall 
months, at least, his law business was prosperous enough to allow 
him to have a shingle made for over his office door, and also to 
have printed 300 business cards bearing the inscription: 44 



Will give prompt attention to all 
business entrusted to his care. 

Special attention given to the 
collection of claims. 


In his advertising Ben was also able to list eight references of 
character from reputable firms and men in New York, Chicago, 
Baltimore, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. 45 It was a wise invest- 
ment but brought only a modicum of business. What came his 
way was chiefly notarial work, writing deeds, petty cases before 
justices of the peace, probate work and collections, together with 
an occasional appearance in the circuit court. 46 

Despite his most strenuous efforts, Ben simply could not seem 
to make ends meet. His first essay as an independent attorney was 

48 New York Mail and Express, an undated newspaper clipping in Harrison 
Scrapbook No. 52, pp. 83-86, Harrison MSS. 

44 in 1889 this inscription was copied from one of the original cards (then yellow 
with age and in the possession of William Sheets' family). Ben paid a printing bill of 
$2.00 for this work on Nov. 7, 1854, "Personal Bills and Notes, 1854," Harrison MSS. 
See also the Chicago Weekly Inter-Ocean, May, 1889, a dipping in the B. Harrison 
Scrapbook No. 9, p. 94, Harrison MSS. 

45 From Cincinnati, Ben listed Hon. Bellamy Storer, Lewis Whiteman, and Sam- 
uel H. Hart & Co. The New York reference was his brother-in-law, Russell F. Lord, 
Superintendent of the Delaware and Hudson Canal. The others were: Joseph Rey- 
nolds, Baltimore; John B. Anderson, New Albany, Indiana; Thomas B. Bryan, 
Chicago; and William Sheets, Indianapolis. See B. Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, p. 
94, Harrison MSS. 

40 New York Mail and Express, an undated newspaper clipping in B. Harrison 
Scrapbook No. 52, pp. 83-88, Harrison MSS. Also "Personal Notes and Bills, 1854," 
Harrison MSS. 


a distinct financial failure, so that he was forced to borrow money. 
Fortunately, his family 47 and friends, like Robert Browning, the 
druggist, stood by him in these dark hours. 

And as if the financial burden were not heavy enough, Ben 
was saddled with concern over the failing health of his two de- 
pendents. From almost the time of her return to the city Carrie 
was ill, and little Russie did not develop in normal fashion. 
Shortly after their first Christmas together and not a very merry 
one at that Ben scraped enough money together to allow Carrie 
and the babe a health vacation. Their destination was twofold, 
the Scott home at Oxford and the Harrison farm at The Point. 
Not long after their departure, Ben wrote: 

... I forgot to tell you to write often, but I suppose you will not 
need the caution. I know you and the babe will be cared for, both at 
the Point and at Oxford, but as no one loves you as I do, so no one 
will take as good care of you as I would. ... I wish I were able to 
send you some money as you should have your teeth fixed etc., but I 
am now reduced to two dollars myself. I will try to send you some in 
a day or two, though I am sure I have no idea where it is to come 

Sid Mear's party I am told is to come off Wednesday. Nothing of 
interest has transpired since you left. Take good care of our sweet 
boy and of yourself also. Say to Irwin that if he will bring you out I 
will not go down, as money is too scarce to be squandered un-neces- 
sarily. I would like very much to visit Oxford and will do so if funds 
are more plenty. If Irwin is coming out however it would be as well 
for you to come with him. Love to all. 48 

The year 1855 could not have begun less inauspiciously than 
it did for Benjamin Harrison. With two dollars in his pocket and 
the dread uncertainty as to where or when the next dollar would 
come, no one could blame him for feeling discouraged. He was 
not alone in this plight, for a large majority of his fellow citizens 

47 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, Oct. 29, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. The 
following excerpt is typical: "Irwin is hauling his wheat to Lawrenceburg and 1 

will try to make you a small remittance Anna insists (unsolicited) that she will 

give you her lotShe is a noble girl and her heart is as big as her body you might 
take it and give her your obligation to refund when she needs it. The amount 
would be worth more to you now than double that amount six years hence." 

48 The original of this letter is preserved in the Benjamin Harrison Home in 
Indianapolis; a photostatic copy is house- in the Library of Congress as A.C. 6388, 
Harrison MSS. 


in Indianapolis believed themselves equally ill-starred on New 
Year's Day, 1855. The financial panic that had occurred in the 
West during the fall of 1854 dealt a heavy blow to the general 
business of the city. 49 The free state-stock banks had generally 
stopped payment, and their notes, which formed the great bulk 
of the circulation, were passing at a heavy discount. Railway and 
other enterprises were greatly embarrassed, and nearly all those 
in progress suspended operations. Traders and manufacturers 
were cramped, and general distrust prevailed among business 
men. Even the bankers' convention, held at the capital on Janu- 
ary 7, failed in any way to ease the situation or alleviate the suf- 
fering of the community; 30 two weeks later the mayors of the 
several cities of the state met in convention at Indianapolis, "for 
consolation and mutual improvement, but without any visible 
result." 51 This condition was further aggravated by the poor phys- 
ical health of the citizenry, as the month of January saw the 
outbreak of a smallpox epidemic. The disease spread so rapidly 
during February that construction of the city's first hospital was 

All Ben could see was black: more money borrowed from court 
clerk John Rea; 52 additional bills from doctors treating Carrie 
and Russell at Oxford; 58 and a steady decline in the number of 
clients who stopped at 32 J4 West Washington Street and walked 
up one flight to the desk called Harrison's Law Office. 54 To make 
matters worse, John Anderson, Ben's closest friend and one to 
whom he looked for encouragement, wrote him a letter that came 
close to being the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. 

49 For the most detailed treatment of the effects of the 1854 financial panic on 
Indianapolis see Indianapolis Directory, 1868, pp. 69-72. 

50 This convention attempted to classify the notes of the suspended banks and fix 
discount rates according to the value of their securities. These rates were accord- 
ingly fixed, but not adhered to even by those who made them, and the discounts 
were raised or lowered at the caprice of the brokers, entailing great losses on the 
community, and making large sums for the operators in the business. Ignatius 
Brown, in Indianapolis City Directory, 1868. 

si Ibid. 

52 Indianapolis, January 13, 1855, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. Under this date was a 
promissory note signed by Benjamin Harrison to the effect: "due John Rea for 
money borrowed one hundred and six dollars to be paid in good bankable cur- 
rency." Ben paid $80.00 on January 30, 1855. 

63 "Personal Notes and Bills, 1855," Harrison MSS. 

54 Indianapolis Directory, 1855, p. 77. 


On February s>, 1855, the same man who had objected to Ben's 
early marriage again wrote somewhat pessimistically: 

I wish you had settled in some other place. It doesn't strike me 
Indianapolis will ever be much of a business place seats of govern- 
ment rarely are Washington, Columbus, Lexington however, it is 
polite to follow up present openings and reputation once acquired 
you can move to a more suitable locality. 65 

Then, paradoxically, in the midst of misery and want, Ben met 
the right man. It may have been prophetic that the meeting re- 
sulted from the gentleman's ambition for political office. He was 
William Wallace, a successful lawyer, the son of former Gover- 
nor David Wallace and the brother of Lew, who was both a mili- 
tary man and a romantic novelist in later life. William was not 
to be left far behind. Political ambition impelled him to fish in 
troubled waters, 56 and in March, 1855, he approached young 
Harrison and asked him to become his law partner, since a com- 
petent helper would leave him free to campaign. 

The meeting occurred about three months before the 1855 city 
elections, scheduled that year for early May. The account comes 
down to us in Wallace's own words. After speaking of his earlier 
acquaintance with Harrison and his favorable impressions of him 
as a lawyer, he relates: 

It happened in the year 1855. I had received the nomination for 
Clerk of Marion County on the People's Ticket. The canvass re- 
quired a good deal of time, and I concluded to offer my young friend 
a partnership. I met him on the street one day, and told him I had 
some good clients and a fair practice, and that if he would go into 
the office and take care of them while I was canvassing for office, we 

55 John A. Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, February a, 1855, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. The letter was not entirely one of pessimism. John had heard reports of 
Ben's initial success in the Point Lookout burglary prosecution and of his merited 
praise at the hands of Wallace. He added "My own congratulations to those already 
received upon your successful debut." 

58 Financial and social conditions favored the emergence of a new political party 
that would promise reform and stability. The People's Party of 1854, of which Wal- 
lace was a member, made just such promises of timely aid. It was composed of 
Free-Soil Democrats, Anti-Slavery Whigs, Know-Nothings and Temperance men, 
and in the October elections it carried the state and elected a majority of both 
houses of the legislature. See J. P. Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, I, 492. 


would share the profits. I think this was the only partnership agree- 
ment we ever had. I was defeated for the office, so we continued the 
practice of law together. 57 

The newly constituted law firm of Wallace and Harrison pros- 
pered, and, while Will Wallace stumped Marion County, Ben 
Harrison succeeded not only in satisfying Wallace's former cli- 
ents but actually procured many new ones. 58 One may be sure 
that the new junior partner never regretted his immediate ac- 
ceptance of Wallace's proposition. A letter to his devoted teacher 
and guide, Doctor Bishop, clearly reflects his changed fortune and 
rejuvenated spirits: 

. . . You will I am sure be glad to hear that I am doing very well in my 
profession. I have formed a partnership with a son of ex-governor 
Wallace's and our prospect of increased business is good. 69 

Prospects for increased business were good; better, perhaps, 
than even Ben himself imagined. From the "quiet kind of busi- 
ness" 60 that Wallace had built up by March, 1855, the firm rose 
rapidly to new heights. At the end of one year the Wallace and 
Harrison cash ledger listed a sum total of $1369.00 credited to 
incoming fees. 61 This success was due primarily to the firm's 
collection work undertaken for two large out of state business 
houses: Dibble, Work and Moore, of New York City, and 

57 Indianapolis Journal, June go, 1888. 

58 Wallace was willing to attribute this success to Harrison whom he character- 
ized as a young man of "superior intellectual qualities . . . and sterling worth." 

59 Ben still felt he owed a tremendous debt of gratitude to Doctor Bishop. He 
speaks of the secular knowledge gathered under Bishop as forming but a "small 
part of the debt of gratitude I owe you. The kind interviews which you repeatedly 
gave me on the subject of my soul's future interest, are gratefully remembered by me 
and were I trust not without influence in bringing me to Christ." Benjamin Harri- 
son to Robert Hamilton Bishop, March 11, 1855, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

60 By this description Wallace meant "some collections and a good deal of pro- 
bate business." Indianapolis Journal, June 30, 1888. 

61 One book entitled "Cash Ledger: March 22, i855-October 6, 1865" fa* Wal- 
lace and Harrison Law Firm, Harrison MSS. This is only one item in an abundance 
of material covering every aspect of the legal and financial dealing of the law firm. 
Incoming Correspondence (1853-61), as well as the Wallace Letter-Press Books, 
are available in the Harrison Collection at the Library of Congress. 


Thatcher, Shaw and Co., of Boston. 62 As business increased, their 
reputation was enhanced and this contributed to the upward 
spiral. Reputable business and law firms from nearby Louisville 
and Cincinnati as well as from Philadelphia and Baltimore now 
employed Wallace and Harrison as their Indianapolis agents. 68 

On the domestic front the type of practice was more varied, 
and perhaps more interesting, yet it proved as profitable as 
the collection work done for out of town clients. Foreclosures, for 
example, sometimes netted a fee as high as $ioo.oo, 64 but these 
were exceptions to the general rule. Five per cent of the total 
sum of bills collected was considered a fair commission, but law- 
yers could not always obtain that high a rate. 65 It was the multi- 
plicity of the ordinary fees of anywhere from one to five dollars 
that was the backbone of the domestic income. The cases them- 
selves were ordinary: sales, contracts, tax reports, minor collec- 
tions, wills and general counsel. 

The comparatively lax divorce laws of the state provided an- 
other lucrative source of income. The state had the unenviable 
reputation for affording wide facilities for loosing the conjugal 
bond, and it was not uncommon for lawyers in distant cities to 
contact Wallace and Harrison either by letter or, more directly, 
by sending the interested party directly to Indianapolis. Such 
cases as these usually brought in good fees, and not too infre- 
quently a bit of humor also. From Milford, New Hampshire, 
came the following hand-delivered letter: 

The bearer is a gentleman from Amherst in this county . . . [who] 
has a devil for a wife and wants to get rid of her. Your laws offei 
greater facilities for procuring divorce than ours. I understand there 

62 Wallace seems to have been responsible for adding these two houses to their 
lists of clients and references. Dibble, Work and Moore carried "an extensive assort- 
ment of staple goods, hosiery etc., etc.," according to their letter to Wallace and 
Harrison, January i, 1858, i box "Legal Correspondence, 1853-1858," Harrison 

63 In Louisville, Prentice, Henderson and Osborne, as well as the John Smiat & 
Co., were the two most important clients. They were credited with paying fees of 
$150.92 and $222.52, respectively, in 1857. The Philadelphia firm of Uppincott, 
Coffin 8c Co., ranked second only to Dibble, Work and Moore in fees paid. Cash 
Ledger, Harrison MSS. 

64 Wallace and Harrison Cash Journal, March 22, i855-October, 1861, lists un- 
der date of July 28, 1855: "Indianapolis Brownsburg RR. Co,, fee for foreclosure of 
mortgage of Jones and wife $100.00." Harrison MSS. 

5 Cash Journal, Aug. 9, 1856, Harrison MSS, reveals that a fee of $20.00 was 
charged for the collection of $400.00 for Peterson and Quick. 


has been a change in your law for divorce and that in order to avail 
of your old law a residence in your state must be obtained 6e 

Also, according to the Indiana statute, abandonment was con- 
sidered good cause for divorce within one year, or in a shorter 
time if the court was satisfied that there was no probability of 
reconciliation. This piece, of legislation served to attract a num- 
ber of cases from neighboring Ohio, and as one Buckeye attorney 
wrote to Wallace and Harrison: 

Your state has the rather unenviable reputation for its facilities for 
divorcing people, but in the present case, I am satisfied that it would 
be better in every way for both parties to be released from their conju- 
gal obligations. . . , 67 

In 1859, however, the Hoosier divorce laws were made more 
stringent; consequently, cases coming to hand after that date were 
rather summarily dismissed so far as the law firm was concerned. 
Even pressure and the bait of giant fees could not make the part- 
ners accept the case of the pretty public-school principal from 
Brooklyn, New York. She was a reputable person and a close 
friend of Cyrus B. Smith, former mayor of the city. Her attorney 
let it be known that she "had the money to pay a lawyer" to 
institute divorce proceedings against her husband, who was al- 
legedly "a loathsome sot when in liquor." 68 Wallace and Harri- 
son refused to handle the case on the plea that the new state 
legislation ruled out the possibility of suit being brought in In- 
dianapolis. 69 Neither attorney, in view of the high grade and lu- 
crative practice of the past three years, considered divorce cases a 
financial imperative any longer. It should be also observed that 
the firm was on the point of dissolution because Wallace had 
gained his political office. 

For Benjamin Harrison personally apart from his successful 
partnership with Wallace the years 1855-60 were a period of 

66 O. W. Lull to Wallace and Harrison, May 24, 1857, "Legal Correspondence to 
Wallace and Harrison, i box 1853-1858," Harrison MSS. 

67 C. M. Olds (Columbus, Ohio) to Wallace and Harrison, "Legal Correspond- 
ence/' November 26, 1858, Harrison MSS. 

68 W. A. Donaldson (Brooklyn, New York) to Wallace and Harrison, "Legal Cor- 
respondence, " October 28, 1861, Harrison MSS. 

60 Wallace and Harrison to W. A. Donaldson, Letter Book: June 2, i86o-Novem- 
ber, 1861 , 440-41 , Harrison MSS. 


progress. Sworn in, early in 1855, as notary public, 70 Ben con- 
tinued to nourish his ambition to be appointed Commissioner 
for the Court of Claims. He exploited the political influence of 
his father in Washington, 71 at least to the extent that the proper 
kind of "weighty" recommendations accompanied his applica- 
tion. His efforts were rewarded and he received the appoint- 
ment. 72 His various duties kept him fully occupied with legal 
work, sometimes too much so. In his quest for financial security 
he frequently failed to reciprocate Carrie's tender affection, but 
it was not long before he reproached himself for these "wounds" 
of neglect. 

Though he himself failed frequently to cultivate those social 
graces which sometimes pave the road to success, his intellectual 
ability and his individuality as a lawyer were never lost sight of. 
It was to be expected that men such as Bill Benton, Ben's lawyer 
friend and college acquaintance, sent an occasional note of con- 
gratulations on Harrison's expert practice in the federal courts, 78 
but, when strangers wrote to the firm in the same vein, the praise 
was even more acceptable. The letter from Crane and Mason, 
Greencastle, Indiana, attorneys, reflects in some degree Ben's 
progress and rise to legal eminence, in the eyes of neutral ob- 

We have to write to you on a confidential matter and trust in any 
event whether you consider us right or not you will consider this 
letter and the subject broached in it and our connection with the 
case below stated as matters of professional confidence that are only 
to be known to you and to us. Our client had the pleasure of hearing 
Mr. Harrison in the case of Tom vs. Tom at our last common pleas 
court and had sense enough to join in the universal opinion that that 
was a masterly effort, and when from reasons of our own we declined 
prosecuting the case below stated, wishes us to receive your aid. We 

70 See "Legal Correspondence of Wallace and Harrison," September 22, 1855, 
Harrison MSS. 

71 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, July 28, 1855, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. "I en- 
close a letter from Hon. G. E. Pugh in regard to your application for the appoint- 
ment of Commissioner. I thought my honorable friend was going to treat my re- 
quest with silent contempt. But it seemed he preferred to let the 'day of grace' go 
by than make a show of friendship." 

72 Indianapolis Directory, 1857, p. 66. 

78 W. P. Benton to Benjamin Harrison, Esq., March 26, 1859, "Legal Corre- 
spondence to Wallace and Harrison, i box 1858-1859," Harrison MSS. 


write to know ... if you will undertake the case with us and to in- 
quire what fee you will charge for so doing. 74 

If any proof were needed that Harrison warmly welcomed this 
new surge of material prosperity, or that contentment with his 
lot in Indianapolis was increased a hundredfold, striking evi- 
dence is afforded by the young lawyer's steadfast refusal to ac- 
cept a tempting offer to leave the city of his choice and settle in 
the small but thriving community at Shelbyville, Indiana, C. H. 
Boggess, speaking for the citizens of Shelby County, made the 
offer in the following terms: 

We as the citizens of Shelby County want to know from you im- 
mediately whether you can locate in our town for the purpose of 
practicing law, and until after the election, canvass the county . . . 
as a central committee may direct. 

Provided a sufficient number of responsible citizens of our county 
will give you three hundred dollars, seventy-five dollars on the first of 
September, seventy-five dollars on the first of December, seventy-five 
dollars on the first of March and seventy-five dollars on the first of 
June, we are willing to bind ourselves so far as to make it secure. I 
am fully satisfied . . . you can do well here, if you will come now. We 
have a paper ready now to make up the amount when we hear from 
you. If you can, let us know by return mail. 75 

Ben chose Indianapolis, and for the next half century, except 
for his senatorship and presidency, he identified himself with the 
"Heart of Hoosierdom." His fortunes and his fame grew with 
the city. The bar, however, did not remain the sole campus of his 
activity. In the Fitful Fifties Ben Harrison surveyed the changing 
political patterns of his day, witnessing the growing strength of 
midwest political figures and the birth of a new political party 
with which he would choose to cast his lot. 

74 January 27, 1860, in "Wallace and Harrison Legal Correspondence, 1860- 
1861," Harrison MSS. The case involved sale and collection and was accompanied 
by a four-page detailed explanation. See also the letter of Sample to Wallace and 
Harrison, May 4, 1859, "Legal Correspondence, 1858-1859," Harrison MSS, for an 
expression of a similar opinion: "if it be possible, let Mr. Harrison come here, say 
tomorrow or next day. If he is only here to advise, I can do all the work. . . ." 

75 C. H. Boggess to Benjamin Harrison, August so, 1855, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 
Even a year and a half later the invitation was still open for Ben to remove to 
Shelbyville and pressure was brought to bear that he might reconsider his earlier 
decision. See S. Alter to Benjamin Harrison, January 20, 1857, "Legal Correspond- 
ence, 1853-1857," Harrison MSS. 


The Political Arena 

BEFORE the Civil War, the two most engrossing and vital 
interests in Indianapolis were religion and politics. It was 
a day of serious thinking, and, like many another Ameri- 
can who came up from the ranks, Benjamin Harrison was charac- 
teristically a child of his own times. It was an era when simplicity 
keynoted both the lives and the homes of practically all the In- 
dianapolis citizenry. Travel was rare; even the luxury of a vaca- 
tion was unknown to most people. Amusements were few, and 
secret societies, the Masons and Odd Fellows excepted, were un- 
popular and regarded with suspicion. No one could deny that 
religion was a main factor in life at the Hoosier capital, and 
everyone was willing to admit that it governed not only the moral 
conduct of the people, but their social relations as well. Church- 
going was proper, reputable and even fashionable, whether peo- 
ple were formally inducted church members or not. 1 

Amid the almost universal simplicity of sparsely furnished 
homes one could usually find in the parlor, or sitting room, a 
handsome center table. On it were a lamp and the family Bible, 
and this was symbolic of the role that religion played in the 
lives of the common people, and of the central place it was 
accorded in the home. 2 The fact that Indianapolis was a com- 
munity of workers whose labors were hard and long 3 in no sense 

1 J. H. Holliday, Indianapolis and the Civil War (Indianapolis, 1911)) especially 
Chapters i-a, "The Settlement and Its Life," and "Religion and Politics." 

2 Logan Esarey, A History of Indiana (Indianapolis, 1918), II, 523: "It was a 
great period for searching the Bible. Every preacher and thousands of laymen 
studied the Book with utmost attention in order to more narrowly examine the 
foundations of their faith and creeds." 

3 Stores were opened by six o'clock generally, and as a rule none closed before 
nine in the evening. Factories and mechanics began work at seven and quit at six, 
with an hour's intermission at noon. Doctors, lawyers and public officials were at 
work early, and the banks ran from eight to four. See Holliday, op. cit. t pp. 531-32. 


served as an excuse for putting aside daily prayer or in any way 
abbreviating Bible reading within the family circle. To Ben and 
Carrie this daily ritual was something of a twice-told tale; they 
knew it well from their earliest days. 

Under these conditions the commandment ordering a strict 
observance of Sunday was obeyed with unbending rigidity. 4 On 
this day, set aside for holiness and awe, no work was to be done 
save the works of mercy and necessity. The people were not to 
give themselves over to their own wills, not to follow after any 
worldly pleasures. Rather, the entire day was to be spent in reli- 
gious devotion and solemn worship, in the sanctuary or in the 
home. Public worship occupied the greater part of the day, as 
morning and evening church attendance with the usual psalm 
singing and sermon were focal points of activity. At home came 
the Bible reading, or the catechism, around the fireside, or a les- 
son from some religious work with solemn admonitions from 
parents to children. 5 

It was no great sacrifice for Ben and Carrie to contribute their 
share to the religious life of the community. Although they hailed 
from a farm, they did not find it difficult to go along with the city 
customs. Ben saw to it that all possible work was completed by 
Saturday, and the routine in the Harrison household differed 
only slightly from that of their neighbors: 

The wood and kindling were all laid up for the Sabbath fires; the 
shoes were blackened and the Sabbath apparel arranged, and every- 
thing was done to make it possible to keep the Sabbath as a day of 
complete rest from secular toil. Sabbath cooking was reduced to a 
minimum. Two meals on the Sabbath day was the universal custom, 

* "The Sunday is kept at Indianapolis with Presbyterian strictness. No trains 
start, letters do not go, nor are they received, so that a father, mother, husband or 
wife, may be in extremity and have no means of communicating their farewells 
or last wishes, if Sunday intervenes." J. P. Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, I, 503. 
This practice was somewhat relaxed by the time of Ben and Carrie in the city. 

5 These details are drawn largely from "The Diary of William Owen," in In- 
diana Historical Society Publications, IV, 493-94. Violations of Sunday observance 
carried severe sanctions: "the psalm singing Presbyterians believed that the church 
was responsible for the conduct of its members, and that church discipline was the 
principal means by which the members were to be kept within the straight and 
narrow way hour upon hour was spent in church courts. . . . offenders . . . [re- 
ceived] public admonition and rebuke before the whole congregation. The congre- 
gation claimed the right to know how the Session dealt with the offender who 
violated the laws of God and the church." 


and one of these was usually cold, ... If in the evening the children 
were hungry, they could be allowed to "cut a pie" or have a cold piece 
of bread and brown sugar, or more likely rye bread and sorghum 
molasses. 6 

The solemnity of the services and the abstinence at table were 
designed to implement and secure the church tradition which 
taught that God's wrath was certain to descend upon the man or 
the people who forsook or desecrated His holy day. 7 

Almost the first question asked about newcomers to Indian- 
apolis was: "What church will they go to?" Ordinary strangers 
might spend some time in deciding upon a church, 8 and one's 
chief friends and associates often were determining factors in 
their choice. Ben and Carrie, however, were destined to member- 
ship in one of the four Presbyterian churches, for previous to 
their nuptial vows they had dedicated themselves as formal com- 
municants in the faith of Calvin and of Knox. No doubt, their 
almost immediate association with the First Presbyterian Church, 
located on the east side of Circle Street, 9 was recommended be- 
cause William Sheets, their cousin and benefactor, had been 
elected an elder by the Session in 1853. 

Fortunately, the church records, which describe Mr. Sheets as 
"one of the best known men in Indianapolis in the religious 
and also in the commercial life of the middle part of the last cen- 
tury," 10 are extant also for the period of Harrison's arrival in the 

T "Riding and visiting were tabooed, even walking for the walk's sake was not re- 
garded favorably. On Sunday the business establishments were shut, except possibly 
some of the saloons that kept a back door unlocked." Holliday, op. cit., p. 539. 

8 Indianapolis Directory, 1855, lists four Presbyterian, one Associate Reform 
Presbyterian churches; and seven Methodist chapels. Christians, Baptists, English 
and German Lutherans had two churches, while Catholics, Episcopalians, and 
Evangelicals, one each. 

9 Rev. Dr. John A. McClung was pastor. The hours of Sunday worship were 
10: 15 A.M. and 7:15 P.M., with Sabbath school at 2:00 P.M. and prayer meeting every 
Thursday evening. 

10 Indianapolis, First Presbyterian Church, Centennial Memorial, 1823-1923 
(Greenfield, Ind., 1925), p, 423. This is a record of the anniversary of the founding 
of the church, "together with historical material, session records, sermons, addresses 
and correspondence relating to its life and work during the century." 


city in 1854. They clearly indicate that the young lawyer and his 
wife entered into church life early and fully. Of Carrie, the rec- 
ord reads: 

Mrs. Benjamin Harrison belonged to a younger group; she too was 
a power. Her tastes were artistic, her creations in needlework lovely 
and her vitality charming. She laughed readily and her gaiety and in- 
tellectual gifts made her delightful to the younger women coming 
into the church. 11 

Ben's contribution to his church was of a much more serious 
naturequite in keeping with his character; during a member- 
ship that was to extend over almost a half-century he shouldered 
the burdens of an elected officer. His first church trust came in 
1857, when he was made a deacon; four years later, despite his 
still youthful age of 28, he was elected the sixteenth elder of the 
Session, an office he filled until his death forty years later. The 
appraisal of the Session bears testimony to Ben's early zeal: 

When he came to this place in 1854 at the age of twenty-one, he 
lost no time in uniting with this church and taking up such work as 
he found to do. He became a teacher in the Sabbath School, 12 he was 
constant in his attendance on church services; his voice was heard in 
prayer meetings; he labored for and with young men, especially in 
the Y.M.C.A. 18 And in whatever way opened, whether public or pri- 
vate, he gave testimony for his faith and the lordship of his Master. 14 

While attendance at the Presbyterian church was executed 
with clocklike regularity, still there was another, and, in the eyes 
of many, a more pleasant side to ecclesiastical membership. As a 
central institution of the community the church successfully pro- 
vided its members with a pleasing social life, and under this head- 
ing the church social stood out. Held under the auspices of the 

. 66. 

12 "Before he went to war young Harrison was Superintendent of the Sunday 
School and Mrs. Harrison had charge of the infants." Indianapolis Journal, July i, 
1888, in B. Harrison Scrapbook No. 6, p. 6, Harrison MSS. 

13 "The Young Men's Christian Association was organized on the aist of March, 
1854 . . . and successfully pressed forward in a useful work ... a library ... a series 
of lectures by distinguished persons ... a city missionary appointed, and sabbath 
schools organized." Indianapolis Directory, 1868, p. 63 of Brown's History of 

.14 Centennial Memorial, p. 141. 


ladies' sewing society these gatherings took place sometimes at 
the church, but more usually in the home. At these afternoon 
meetings they did sew for some worthy cause or other, but as one 
writer, manifesting a sense of humor, said: "We had no news- 
paper, but we had a sewing society." 15 In the evening, when the 
men and young people came, a substantial supper was served. 
These socials afforded Carrie a wide field for church work, but 
Ben frequently attended them as a matter of obligation. He never 
excelled as a raconteur, and he was shy; nevertheless, he brought 
himself to unbend as the occasion required. As he continued his 
attendance at these bi-monthly meetings, his personality slowly 
unfolded and one of his Bible class boys claimed he "has seen him 
sit for hours with a party of men who are telling good stories and 
laugh heartily at every one." 16 

There was also the church festival, a function more uncommon 
and entirely different from the mere routine entertainments. In 
reality, the festival was a small-scale commercial enterprise for 
raising funds, at which refreshments were partly contributed and 
partly bought. When these entertainments were advertised as 
Oyster Suppers a delicacy dear to the heart of Benjamin 17 an 
admission fee was charged, and as a rare dessert ice cream was 
offered at "ten cents a saucer." In the off-weeks "donation parties" 
were popular: a group of friends would swoop down upon the 
home of the pastor and present gifts, and eat the supper they had 
brought with them. These affairs usually abounded in good fel- 
lowship, and contributed largely to the enriched social life of the 
community. 18 

Bread-winning and church-going were matched by the enthu- 
siasm for politics of the mid-nineteenth-century Hoosier. Each 
man recognized within himself a political capacity, so great that 
he would willingly undertake to hold any office from postmaster 
to congressman. This engaging confidence was inspired perhaps 
by the fact that it was the individual citizen and his neighbors 

18 An undated clipping from the Washington Post [February 28, 1889 ?], B. 
Harrison Scrapbook No. 9, p. 7, Harrison MSS. 

17 Harrison MSS, Vols. 4-6, passim. See especially the letter of March 4, 1865, 
Benjamin to Carrie: "I soon got to be expert in opening them [oysters] and took 
two or three dozen with great relish," Vol. 6, 1110-11, Harrison MSS. 

18 Holliday, op. dt v p. 535. 


who had organized the government on state as well as local levels. 
All the political and social institutions around him were his own 
handiwork, or at least bore the imprint of his own mind and 
hand. At the time of Harrison's arrival in Indianapolis, the 
stump speaker commanded as large an audience as the wandering 
preacher in the field or the newspaper paragrapher in the press. 19 

The almost universal attraction to politics among members of 
the legal profession was widely acknowledged. Fired with local 
pride and sectional prejudice, the two most common incentives 
for political spellbinders, 20 these men prepared early to do polit- 
ical battle throughout the decade prior to the actual "Disrup- 
tion of American Democracy." 21 Benjamin Harrison himself, 
though just of voting age, was contemporary with the political 
strife current in Indiana. He heard the heated debates over tariff, 
banking, slavery and immigration. He witnessed the almost com- 
plete disintegration of the old political parties, and was about 
to take a part in the new alignment. He would have been blind 
had he not sensed that the leaders of the Democratic party were 
apprehensive. 22 And on the other hand one might not blame him 
for failing to recognize "the young Republican colt, a cross with 
Whig, American, anti-slavery and temperance strains/' now "ca- 
vorting dangerously, responsive to neither bit nor spur." 23 

Unfettered by any blind devotion to his grandfather's and even 
his father's name and political beliefs, he decided to back this 
new "political" horse, and in 1856, after two years of watchful 
waiting, he threw in his lot with the insurgent Republican Party 
and campaigned actively for the presidential nominee, John 
Charles Fremont. 24 It was a step that shocked the conservatism 

19 Esarey, op. cit. f II, 600-3. 

20 Charles Zimmerman, "The Origin and Rise of the Republican Party in In- 
diana, 1854-1860," Indiana Magazine of History, 13 (1917), 407-8; Kenneth M. 
Stampp, Indiana Politics during the Civil War (Indianapolis, 1949)* p- 3. 

21 See Roy F. Nichols, The Disruption of American Democracy (New York, 1948), 
pp. 20-40. 

22 "With good reason did Democrats fret as their supremacy waned. They saw 

their old time majorities of 20,000 dwindle down to a mere technicality Strong 

political captains, harmonious and jubilant in victory were now sniped at by dis- 
cordant groups of bickering, jealous, half-hearted supporters ... the carefully and 
costly built political machine was going headlong into a ditch." See Esarev, 
op. cit. t II, 654-55. 

23 ibid. 

24 Benjamin Harrison to John Anderson, November 5, 1856, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 


of his family so much that his brother John tauntingly remarked 
that "Ben was the only Republican in the family and the more 
shame for him/' 25 In leaning toward the cause of Fremont the 
young lawyer parted company, politically speaking, with his own 
father. John Scott Harrison warned his son that "he was all too 
strongly tinctured with Republicanism." 26 

As Harrison settled into a self-supporting legal career, one 
of the great crises of American history was approaching. The 
slavery question was setting the country ablaze. Where might an 
earnest, religiously inclined young man, the son of a Whig Con- 
gressman and the grandson of a Whig president, be expected to 
take his stand? Though most political observers in Indiana would 
have said that he must go with the Republicans as did most of 
the Whigs, 27 Ben's own father disassociated himself with the Re- 
publican party at an early date and joined the ranks of the Amer- 
ican Party. 28 The story behind this political break between father 
and son is worth relating, and though their personal relations 
were sometimes severely strained, they were never broken. 

When Benjamin arrived in Indianapolis, John Scott Harrison 
was just completing his first term as a Representative in Congress 
from the second Ohio district. 29 During his early months of strug- 
gle with the law, Ben was also undergoing a political apprentice- 
ship, his father serving as the master-politician. In all probability, 
John Scott meant this as an academic study through which his 
son might keep himself well informed on national affairs. The 
fifty-five-year-old Whig certainly never intended that his prolific 

25 [Jennie Harrison Morris ?] to. Benjamin Harrison, July 23, 1860, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 4: "Dear Ben: I was really provoked at John Harrison this morning. 
Somehow the conversation turned to politics and to your different views to that of 
your family. John said that 'Ben was the only Republican in the family and the 
more shame for him/ . . ." Letter unsigned, but in the handwriting of Ben's sister, 
Mrs. Jennie Harrison Morris. It was written from Indianapolis. 

26 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, March 29, 1857, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

27 Stampp, op. cit., p. 22. 

28 Eugene H. Roseboom, The Civil War Era, 1850-1873, p. 320; see also George 
H. Porter, Ohio Politics during the Civil War (New York, 1911). For the actual 
founding of the party see Walter R. Sharp, "Henry S. Lane and the Foundation of 
the Republican Party in Indiana," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 7 (1920- 
21), 93-112. 

29 Weekly Inter-Ocean, October 22, 1889, a clipping in B. Harrison Scrapbook 
Vol. 9 (part 2), Harrison MSS. J. S. Harrison was a candidate for Congress in the 
second Ohio district for two successive terms and was elected in 1852 and 1854. 


correspondence should serve as a course in practical politics for 
young Ben. For his son he envisaged a future above politics 
which he candidly characterized as a "drug, which should never 
be found in a gentleman's library or parlor . . . and fit only to 
scent the beer house." 80 Even after the Wallace and Harrison law 
partnership was formed, John Scott laid a strict injunction upon 
Ben to stick to his law practice and to avoid politics, for "none 
but knaves should ever enter the political arena." 31 

Moreover, he instructed his son that the public as well as the 
private lives of politicians were "surrounded by temptations, . . . 
[and] many inducements to stray from the proper path." 32 De- 
spite these admonitions to avoid the perils and pitfalls of political 
life that John Scott so freely gave to his son, he himself performed 
faithful service in Congress. During one of the most critical peri- 
ods in history he could boast: "I have not been absent from my 
seat for a single day for nearly five months and ... I have never 
paired off with anyone . . . except for a few hours to join a con- 
tinual session of thirty six hours in order to take some repose 
and some refreshment." 88 This meant, of course, that during his 
formative days Ben had a political pipe line direct from Wash- 
ington. The messages which came from his father served in no 
small way to color his own political thinking. From the parent 
who warned him to stay out of politics came the first seeds of 
"new republicanism." 

The political party to which Ben pledged his earliest allegiance 
was a fusion party brought into existence by the strong and het- 
erogeneous local reactions to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. 34 The 
germs of this new political alignment were spread broadcast 
during May and June, 1854. The distressing reports penned by 
Congressman Harrison in Washington to lawyer Harrison in 
Indianapolis on the momentous question of slavery extension 

30 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, February a, 1854, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. 

31 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, December 28, 1855, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

32 John Scott Harrison to an unnamed correspondent, July 14, 1854, i box of 
John Scott Harrison Papers in Harrison MSS. The congressman claimed he put all 
his faith and trust in the "night and morning prayers of a pious mother." 

33 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, May 19, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

34 Andrew W. Crandall, The Early History of the Republican Party, 
(Boston, 1930), p. 20. 


were infectious with "republicanism," though the author him- 
self would not join the embryonic party. 85 

The high drama of the Nebraska Bill as it made its way 
through Congress was not lost on John Scott Harrison; neither 
was it lost on Ben. He knew well the story of how Stephen A. 
Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in the Senate in 
January, 1854, and he followed closely the struggle in the Senate. 
From the other side of Capitol Hill, John Scott Harrison wrote: 

The great question now before Congress and the country, as you 
are apprised, is the Nebraska Bill of Mr, Douglas. It proposes virtu- 
ally to repeal the Missouri Compromise, which forbids slavery be- 
yond the line 36 degrees 30 minutes. ... I would be the last man in 
the world to interfere with any of the constitutional rights of the 
slave holding states. But when they ask me to aid in breaking down 
a solemn compact made when Missouri was admitted to The Union 
with slavery, they ask more than I am willing to do. The truth is, 
there was no necessity of forming the territory at this time, . . . and 
still less, to introduce the slavery clause into the bill. A bill passed [by] 
the House last session, sought to leave the slavery question out of the 
matter, but was not acted upon by the Senate and therefore failed to 
become a law. Mr. Douglas, and his slavery clause, is bait for southern 
waters, when he comes to fish for the presidency. 36 

On May 8th, the battle over the Nebraska Bill began in the 
House. From that day until the 22nd, the floor of the House 
was in a blaze of excitement as the majority leaders tried to 
force a vote. Everybody then knew that the Douglas forces 
could carry it; what is more, everybody knew that speech-mak- 
ing availed nothing. The minority, however, contested every 
inch of ground. 87 John Scott Harrison, who admitted that he 
never had "the gift of gab," now proudly counted himself in 
that die-hard group. 88 He was quick to share with Ben the inti- 
mate details of the struggle. Nor did he hedge in his sharp de- 
nunciation of the "deformed and loathsome Nebraska Bill," 80 
whose passage would not only ring down the curtain on the Whig 

85 Roseboora, op. cit. t p. 320; Allan Nevins, The Ordeal of the Union (New York, 
1947), II. 414-16. 

86 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, February a, 1854, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. 

87 Nevins, op. cit. t II, 154-55- 

88 J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, September 30, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

89 J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, May 19, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


Party in Ohio and Indiana, but would also crystallize the nation's 
parties into new forms. This, in the words of the angered Doug- 
las, meant "civil war, servile war, and disunion." 40 

John Scott Harrison told Ben that the regular debates on the 
bill would close shortly; the fight on the amendments, however, 
would then begin, and 

This may last for several days . . . but as the Pacific Railroad bill is 
set for Wednesday by a special order and as it will take a two-thirds 
vote to set it aside, I apprehend on Tuesday night the House will feel 
best about the small hours. 41 

Notwithstanding his bitter animosity to the "iniquitous" Ne- 
braska Bill, John Scott Harrison refused to do violence to his 
Presbyterian conscience by resorting, he added, to any "revolu- 
tionary mode of defeating it." The conservative old Whig con- 
fided to Ben that he had been approached by the Bill's desperate 
enemies who 

. . . suggested that if the Bill cannot be defeated in any other way . . . 
that some of its opponents will leave the House and thus prevent a 
quorum. I have been asked how I felt in regard to this step. I have 
answered that I was opposed to the passage of the Bill but would not 
feel justified in resorting to any such revolutionary mode of defeating 
it. I have spoken against it ... I shall vote against it in any and all 
shapes, but further than this I couldn't go. If the majority pass this 
bill . . . upon them must rest the responsibility. 42 

The fires of personal animosity burned fiercely on the floor of 
the House. Sufficient heat being generated, the forging of new 
parties was made easy. At home at Indianapolis, young Ben was 
not missing a trick, though his political insight came by proxy 
through his father. On an eventful day in May the bitterly parti- 
san Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia arose to speak. The shrill- 
voiced remarks of this parliamentary manager of the Nebraska 
Bill 48 precipitated John Scott Harrison and the minority group 

40 Nevins, op. cit., II, 316-18. 

41 J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, May 19, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

48 Nevins, op. cit., II, 155. The author paints a vivid picture of Stephens whose 
gaunt body, small, sickly-looking frame, beardless, wrinkled parchment skin, and 
shrill voice gave him a certain physical resemblance to John Randolph of Roanoke. 


into a fit of almost uncontrollable rage. Tempers flared on both 
sides. Immediately, a detailed account of the outbreak was on its 
way to Indianapolis: 

You will have seen by the papers how near we have come to having 
a personal collision in the House. Mr. Campbell 44 was endeavoring 
to reply to something that was said by Mr. Stephens of Georgia charg- 
ing opponents of the bill with being factious, when he was loudly 
called to order and not suffered to proceed. He persisted in denounc- 
ing the act as arbitrary . . . when a Mr. Edmunson of Virginia reached 
over at him calling him very hard names and drew his fist as if to 

strike him Campbell maintained his ground with great firmness 

. . . members rushed to the scene of action from all quarters of the 
House. I found myself rushing to Campbell's aid over the tops of the 
desks. My friend Governor Aiken of South Carolina . . . who sits next 
to me . . . seized Edmunson and held him. . . , 45 

The vigorous action of the Speaker saved the day. He ordered 
the Sergeant-at-arms to use the mace of the House, had the irate 
Virginian arrested, cut off debate, declared the sitting adjourned, 
and thus prevented a general and perhaps bloody fight. 46 With 
this last attempt at filibustering by Campbell, the opposition 
had worn itself out. On May 22nd the Nebraska Bill became 
law. Not only had the Missouri Compromise been repealed, but 
also the ambiguous popular sovereignty principle was substi- 
tuted. Two important results flowed from this legislation. Parts 
of the Northwest were legally open to Negro slavery and a strong 
sectional foundation was given to the embryonic Republican 
Party. 47 The die was cast for April, 1861. 

The years 1854-1856 were critical not only in national politics, 
but also in the career of John Scott Harrison and his soa. In the 
cooling-off period immediately after the heated struggles over 
the Nebraska legislation, they gave serious thought to the mani- 
fold political problems confronting the country. Up to this time 
they had both shared an understandable admiration for the Whig 

44 Lewis D. Campbell of Ohio headed a bitter filibustering group. 

45 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, May 19, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 
46Nevins, op. cit., II, 156 ff. John Scott Harrison mentioned these details at 

great length in his letter of May igth. 

47 Reinhard H. Luthin, The First Lincoln Campaign (Cambridge, Mass., 1944), 
o. sw. 


Party of William Henry Harrison, 48 but now, with the collapse 
of Whiggery, they felt compelled to draw up separate political 
creeds. 49 

After his strenuous opposition to the Nebraska Bill, John 
Scott found his political reputation spread far beyond the con- 
fines of his congressional district in Cincinnati, and even beyond 
Ohio's borders. It was no secret that the name of Harrison was 
still open sesame for political advancement. To many it was still 
the sign and emblem of effective political revolution. Even in the 
Hoosier capital in 1854 several old-line Whigs, stimulated by res- 
urrected memories of the Log Cabin and Hard Cider campaign 
in 1840, started to boom John Scott Harrison for the presidency 
in the 1856 election. These old-timers had a peculiar faith in the 
power of a name so much so that in October, 1854, they created 
a special committee to invite the son of Old Tippecanoe to come 
to Indianapolis and make arrangements to lead their forces in 
the next presidential election. Ben got the whole story from his 
father in a letter that was intended to spike these booming presi- 
dential guns: 

I received two or three days ago the letter of invitation to Indian- 
apolis and have made up my mind not to attend. I received a letter . . . 
saying ... it was the intention of my friends to nominate me there 
and then for the presidency, or at least make arrangements for a sub- 
sequent meeting for that purpose. These intimations would keep me 
away if nothing else. If any such foolish movement is made I do not 
want to be made particeps criminis, as you lawyers say . . ; [they have] 
calculated too largely on the potency of a name. 

While his father was scoffing at the idea of leading a resurgent 
political group in 1856, young Ben endeavored to carry out that 
early paternal advice which bade him hold himself aloof from all 
political entanglements. Besides, his efforts to build up a substan- 
tial legal practice allowed him no other course of action. Even 
after his successful partnership with Will Wallace in 1855, ^ 
young lawyer's chief interest was to provide a decent living for 
Carrie and Russell. As long as he could write: "Business engage- 
ments have crowded me pretty close," 51 there seemed little danger 

48 House Document No. 154, p. 125. 

49Crandall, op. cit., pp. 21-23, 269-71. 

CO John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, October 29, 1854, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

51 Benjamin Harrison to J. A. Anderson, Nov. 5, 1856, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


that he would jump on some political bandwagon. Actually, Ben 
had learned his lesson of "political non-intervention" so well that 
he felt bound to admonish his father against making any political 
mistake in Ohio by accepting a third-party candidacy for gover- 
nor. 52 

This voluntary segregation from politics, however, was short- 
lived. A growing intimacy with Will Wallace, whom Ben de- 
scribed as a "devoted politician and something of a rover by 
nature," 53 persuaded him to help Wallace and the new party 
in the canvass. Although their partnership agreement left Ben 
"with the en.ire responsibility and labor of the office . . . and 
the courts," 54 he volunteered to help Wallace stump Marion 
county in his campaign for the county clerkship. 

This was Harrison's first bow in the direction of the Republi- 
can Party. 55 Shortly thereafter, he made his first stump speech at 
a meeting at Acton, Indiana, where he stood on a railroad track 
and addressed all of 15 or 20 people. 56 Because of the strong 
Southern element in Indiana's population" 7 Ben's remarks on 
the slavery issue were conservative, with more emphasis on the 
evils of sectionalism than those of slavery. Evidently, he executed 
his task successfully, since this maiden effort earned him the in- 
vitation to campaign in Shelby County which C. H. Boggess ten- 

Ben seemed to enjoy this first incursion into Hoosier politics. 
His clear presentation and easy manner of speaking made him 
wholly acceptable to small-town audiences. The deeper he delved 
into the issues, the more he felt the need of thinking things out 
for himself. Step by step he weighed the pros and cons of the 
slavery issue, that "alarm in the night," now alerting the country 
to a possibly unprecedented conflagration. Like his father, he 

52 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, August s, 1855, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. His 
father replied: "You need not fear of my making a mismove in regard to the candi- 
dacy for Governor of Ohio. I have never for one moment entertained the least idea 
of running." 

53 Benjamin Harrison to J. A. Anderson, Nov. 5, 1856, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 
C* ibid. 

05 in Indiana, the Republican Party did not officially adopt that name until 
the presidential campaign of 1856 was well under way. The fusion ticket of 1854 
and 1855, however, represented the mainstream of Republican thought. See Zim- 
merman, art. cit. 

56 House Document No. 154, p. 127. 

57Stampp, op. cit., p. 22. See also George W. Julian, Political Recollections, 
1840-1872 (Chicago, 1884), pp. 136-37. 


was opposed to the extension of slavery, and up to the time of 
his political debut, they both took the conservative position that 
the institution of slavery was entitled to such protection as the 
Constitution and laws of the country offered it. 58 On this latter 
point, however, Ben began to waver. 

By June, 1856, he had shifted his political views on the slavery 
question sufficiently to give full approbation to the anti-slavery 
gospel enshrined in the national Republican platform drawn up 
at Philadelphia. 69 

The way was clear for an open break, politically speaking, 
between father and son. John Scott Harrison had lined up in 
Congress with the American Party to fight to the bitter end the 
successful election of Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts, a 
recently baptized Republican, as Speaker of the House. 60 He felt 
so strongly on this issue that he wrote to his brother-in-law the 
following indictment of the "ultra" North: 

The bane of the present congress is the fanaticism of fifteen or more 
preachers of the gospel who have soiled their robes by entering the 
arena of politics and who seem to believe that the furtherance of 
Christ's kingdom upon the earth can only be advanced by an in- 
discriminate warfare upon the slave-holder. These men all vote for 
Banks . . . and reject with haughty pride all mention of a compromise 
in a moderate Anti-Nebraska man. "Banks or nothing' is their war 
cry. We resist them. These false prophets carry with them all the ul- 
tramen of the North and unfortunately for the country they have a 
plurality in the house. 61 

This furious anti-abolitionist blast was only intensified a 
month later by the premeditated neglect with which Speaker 
Banks treated Congressman Harrison. The latter wrote to Ben: 
"I am not on an important committee . . . Banks gave me a low 
seat on account of my opposition to him." 62 

During the summer of 1856 the political gap between the two 
men widened perceptibly. It was a period of increasing sectional 
fanaticism and party sensitivity. The controversy which followed 

58 House Document No. 154, p. 127. 

59 Crandall, op. cit., pp. 179-85; 195-98; Stampp, op. cit. t p. 23. 

60 Nevins, op. cit., II, 415. 

i John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, January 21, 1856, Short Family 
Papers, Box 55. 

62 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, February 25, 1856, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


Preston Brooks' caning of Senator Sumner served only to fire 
tempers to white heat. 68 Scott Harrison, about to retire from the 
House, wrote with a great sadness: "We have fallen upon evil 
times ... I regard the course of the Republicans in the House 
as extraordinary and almost revolutionary." 64 

As the various factions prepared for the presidential battle of 
1856, John Scott Harrison drew consolation in the early May 
reverses that the Republicans suffered in Indiana. He chided 
Ben on his political waywardness: "I see by the papers that your 
Republican ticket was badly beaten. If you want to be successful, 
you must run up the true blue American flag." 65 John Scott him- 
self did precisely this very thing. He not only declared openly for 
the election of Millard Fillmore on the American ticket, but also 
co-operated actively in piling up proofs of Fremont's Catholi- 
cisma line of attack most effective in defeating the Republican 
candidate. 66 He campaigned in Ohio and Kentucky for the "cause 
of conservatism throughout the country." 67 

This active course on his father's part somewhat embarrassed 
Ben. People began to believe that he was tempted to toss over 
his newly adopted Republican principles and switch back to the 
position adopted by the Fillmore supporters, yet they reckoned 
without consulting the twenty-three-year-old Republican. An- 
derson, who had been privy to the rumor that his old college 
chum had now turned his political coat, wrote from New Albany: 

Of course politics is the engrossing topic of your town and I very 
much fear that you individually have gone astray from the principles 
which I endeavored to instill in your youthful mind and will throw 
away your vote upon Millard Fillmore at the approaching election as 
your father has announced him as his preference. 68 

68 Nevins, op. cit., II, 443. For Harrison's attitude on the unfortunate affair, see 
Charles Anderson to Hon. John Scott Harrison, M.C., August 3, 1856, in John Scott 
Harrison Papers, i box, Harrison MSS. 

64 John Scott Harrison to John Cleves Short, August 24, 1856, Short Family Pa- 
pers, Box 55. 

5 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, May 9, 1856, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

68 Vespasian Ellis (editor of the American Auburn) to John Scott Harrison, Sep- 
tember 3, 1856, in John Scott Harrison Papers, i box, Harrison MSS. See also Nevins, 
op. cit., II, 507-8. 

67 Committee of the American Party to John Scott Harrison, October 15, 1856 
(Lexington, Ky.), in John Scott Harrison Box, Harrison MSS. 

68 j. A. Anderson to Benjamin Harrison, October 2, 1856, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


To a man who had dedicated himself to the new Republican 
Party and had addressed the people of Indianapolis more than 
once in support of Fremont's nomination and candidacy, this let- 
ter from Anderson called for a sharp reply. On election eve Ben 
penned a short, decisive note to Anderson that left no doubt for 
which candidate the future president would cast his first vote in 
the morning: 

. . . You do me great injustice in your allusion to my supposed politics. 
I am Fremont all over and all the time . . . have made a good many 
speeches for him in this and adjoining counties, and am now waiting 
(rather despondingly) for news of his election. 69 

Harrison's election-day forebodings for Fremont were fully re- 
alized. After the ballots in the presidential contest were counted, 
Democrat Buchanan enjoyed a popular plurality over the West- 
ern Pathfinder that ranged close to half a million votes, 70 though 
his margin of victory in the Hoosier state was only 2O,ooo. 71 The 
balance of power was held most decisively by the Fillmore sup- 
porters. 72 In the family battle of politics, the first round went 
overwhelmingly to John Scott Harrison. Despite this Republican 
defeat on three fronts city, 78 state and country, Ben's confidence 
was not seriously diminished nor was his political allegiance the 
least bit shaken. 

The Republican leaders determined to fight on stubbornly, 
and even after the November disaster the halls of Congress re- 
sounded with protests on the treatment of Kansas. Eastern sea- 
board Republicans were already talking about Fremont's "vic- 
torious defeat." 74 In Indianapolis, the first ray of sunshine broke 
through on November 22nd and shattered thoroughly the pass- 
ing gloom of two weeks before. At a special election held to fill 

89 Benjamin Harrison to J. A. Anderson, November 5, 1856, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 

70 Buchanan: 1,838,169; Fr&nont: 1,341,264; Fillmore: 874,534. The figures from 
the World Almanac and Encyclopedia, 1894 (New York, 1894), p. 117. 

71 W. D. Fouike, Life of Oliver P. Morton (Indianapolis, 1899), 1, 58. 

72 Nevins, op. cit. t II, 511, for the national scene. In Indiana the Fillmorites held 
the political balance of power; see Stampp, op. cit., p. 24. 

73 The city election in Indianapolis took place on May 6, 1856. 2,776 votes were 
cast and the Democrats elected the whole ticket, with 10 out of the 14 councilmen. 
W. R. Holloway, Indianapolis (Indianapolis, 1870), pp. 106-7. 

74 Nevins, op. cit., II, 514. 


vacancies in the office of Mayor and City Clerk, more than 3,000 
crowded to the polls. For the first time in several years the Demo- 
crats found themselves defeated, and the Republicans indulged 
in wild demonstrations of delight. 75 

On January 7, 1857, when Oliver Perry Morton, recently de- 
feated Republican gubernatorial nominee, began to address a 
meeting of Republicans in the capital, he realized that he was 
facing an enthusiastic and rejuvenated group. He coined for them 
a new battle cry and pledged a vigorous political leadership. Tak- 
ing his keynote from the bloody fields of Kansas, Indiana's next 
governor thundered: "Our creed is plain. We do not assail slav- 
ery where it exists entrenched behind legal enactments, but 
wherever it sallies forth, we are pledged to meet it as an enemy 
of mankind." 76 

The political atmosphere in Indianapolis was charged with 
expectant Republicanism, and the party willingly accepted Mor- 
ton's leadership. Under these circumstances it was not hard for 
Ben to realize the full import of the ominous news that his father 
continued to send from Washington. The retiring American 
Congressman wrote: 

... the Republicans of the House seem never to tire shrieking for 
Kansas. . . . The theme is so delightful to their ears that they have for- 
gotten the election is over. The shrieks can no longer make votes 

for John C. Fremont. Why will they not let the country rest? 77 

Ben's reply to his father's political query has not been pre- 
served, but it is evident that inactivity was no part of his plans. 
With a law practice growing more steady and lucrative, he felt 
safe in making for himself an important decision. Shortly after 
the incorporation of the new city charter was accepted by the 
Councilmen, 78 Harrison let it be known that he accepted the 
call of the Republican Party to stand for the office of City At- 
torney at the coming May elections. This unmistakably public 
profession of faith in the principles of the Republican Party came 

75 Indianapolis Directory, 1868, pp. 70-71. 

76 Fouike, op. cit., I, 59. 

77 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, December *, 1856, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

78 The general charter law, adopted in 1853, was amended by the Legislature in 
1857, and accepted by the City Council on March 16, 18^*7. See Hollowav. o*>, cit., 


as a distinct shock to John Scott Harrison, whose reaction was one 
of bitter protest. He actually refused to come to Indianapolis and 
stay with Ben. 

Without paternal encouragement, and despite family coolness, 
Ben entered into the political fray with warm enthusiasm. Both 
parties were putting forth all their strength in order to gain 
control of the newly organized city government, with the result 
that the canvass was animated and bitter. Colorful demonstra- 
tions by day were surpassed in brilliance only by the great torch- 
light processions at night. Fireworks and balloon ascensions were 
common to both parties, but the Republicans stole a march on 
the Democrats in their theatrical demonstrations of slavery as a 
moral, social and economic evil. 79 

Though feeling ran high during the campaign, the election 
held on May 5th came off without incident. Harrison was vic- 
torious 80 in a contest that saw a new high of 3,300 votes cast. Each 
party elected a portion of its ticket, so that neither could claim a 
clean-cut triumph, a fact which rendered Ben's personal victory 
more satisfying. Almost immediately he entered upon the duties 
of his new office, duties not unfamiliar from his occasional role 
as assistant prosecuting attorney in Marion County. 

Political ambition accounts in large part for Ben's acceptance 
in 1857 of an election as City Attorney of Indianapolis, a position 
paying only $400 a year. By doing so he cut himself off for a full 
year from practice and took a place that most men well launched 
in the legal profession, with a growing clientele, would have eyed 
disdainfully. As a state Senator or as Congressman he would have 
held a position of dignity, but the City Attorney was usually a 
political hack. It was his familiarity with the work that made him 
willing to consider such an office. He did not plead financial 
necessity as the compelling motive. Actually, his principal reason 
for seeking the berth seems precisely that which, a year later, 
would force him to choose between a candidacy for the legislature 
and the secretaryship of the State Republican Central Commit- 
tee. There is no question that at this period of his life he aspired 

70 Zimmerman, op. cit., pp. 360-61, 366. 

80 Official notification came from the City Clerk's Office on May 7, 1857. The 
document read: "It has been certified by the Board of Inspectors, that Benjamin 
Harrison has beeft elected City Attorney in the city of Indianapolis for the term 
of one year, at an election held in said city on the fifth day of May/' Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 


to political prominence an ambition not confined to his own 
heart for his father finally reversed himself and wrote: "I look 
forward to a period in the future when you may occupy a high 
position among the political men of Indiana." 81 

While he was settling down to his new office routine, Ben de- 
termined to redress the grievances felt by his family at what they 
regarded as political conduct unbecoming a Harrison. This was 
a likely time for a reconciliation, if possible, or, at least, an un- 
derstanding about divergent political views. John Scott Harri- 
son's departure from Congress in March, 1857, left the door open 
for a family reunion, and happily Ben took the first step. He re- 
alized that his father, now crowding sixty, was in for a lonesome 
time, once he returned to The Point. Carter, John and Anna 
were away at school, while Irwin impatiently awaited his father's 
return to accept an army commission procured by the retiring 
Congressman from President Pierce. 82 Only Sallie and Jennie, 
both eligible for marriage, were still at home to care for a father, 
whose four years in Washington had aged him considerably. 

Ben's peace offering was tendered in the shape of a more faith- 
ful correspondence with his father, whose personal affection had 
never waned. John Scott's inevitable loneliness was forestalled 
by the frequency of Ben's weekend visits 88 as well as by the atten- 
tions Carrie showered on her father-in-law whenever he made 
the trip to Indianapolis. These mutual visits did a great deal to 
build up the warmth and devotion that had been somewhat 
strained by politics. Political questions would still crop up for 
discussion, but principles were now debated in a quiet, detached 
and dispassionate manner. Neither would change his political 
views, but a closer understanding was manifested by both father 
and son. 

As a matter of fact, Ben's devotion to the Republican cause in- 

81 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, January 29, 1858, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

82 Irwin Harrison to Benjamin, February 21, 1857, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3: "I re- 
ceived a letter from Pa the other day telling me he had seen the President ... he 
told him my commission . . . had been fixed ... I hope in the cavalry." Three weeks 
later, John Scott wrote Ben that President Pierce had authorized a Captain's com- 
mission for Irwin at a salary between $1,200 and $1,500 a year. John Scott Harrison 
to Benjamin, March 14, 1857, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

83 This was particularly true after June, 1857, when Carrie's absence in the East 
left Ben free to travel. Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. John Scott could also visit his married 
daughter, Betty Eaton, at nearby Long View. 


creased to such a degree that an attempt at proselytism within the 
family circle was not considered out of place not with his father, 
but with elder brother, Irwin. The latter's commission had car- 
ried him to the Kansas Territory, and by lengthy correspondence 
Ben believed he had converted his brother and made him ready 
for the Republican Party. Just before Christmas, however, a let- 
ter from Irwin scathingly indicted Republicanism in action and 
bitingly denied even a passing flirtation with that political doc- 

... I write you this evening to correct your very wrong impression of 
my turning Republican. I don't know but I should feel insulted 
that I an American^ a Know-Nothing, should so far forget the prin- 
ciples of our party, as to affiliate for a moment with a set of men so 
corrupt as the Republicans. Six months residence in Kansas has done 
anything but impress me with the honesty or purity of the said party. 
I am sorry that you could not have the opportunity that I have had, 
of having your eyes opened, for I am sure your political posts would 
have beaten time to the True Goose now and forever. As for Gover- 
nor Walker I look upon him as one of the most corrupt, intriguing 
little rascals I ever had the misfortune to know. Should he appear as 
a candidate for the Presidency in 1860, as I think he will, I will resign, 
and stump the country against him, exposing his corruption while 
Governor of Kansas. But enough of politics. . . , M 

New Year's Day, 1858, fell on a Friday. Ben took a quick 
glimpse backwards and a long look to the future. His carelessly 
kept diary reveals one resolution: "January i, 1858 Stopped use 
of tobacco in every form . . . Wallace, Haughey, Browning and 
myself." 85 Three days later, in usual Sabbath form, Carrie and 
Ben attended services in the First Presbyterian Church. Accord- 
ing to the second of four entries in the diary, the Rev. Mr. Cun- 
ningham delivered a sermon entitled: "The Fashion of This 
World Passeth Away." 86 For the young man wrestling with the 
serious problems of his own future, the homily afforded adequate 
food for reflection. 

Young Harrison was truly in a reflective mood. His one-year 

84 Irwin Harrison to Benjamin, December 13, 1857, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

85 The diary of Benjamin Harrison, 1858, Harrison MSS. For a man so detailed 
in other pursuits, one is amazed to find only four entries in this diary: January i, 3; 
February 8, and April 3. 

86 Diary, January 3, 1858, Harrison MSS. 


term as City Attorney was more than three-quarters completed, 
and he appeared uninterested in standing for re-election. Perhaps 
Ben was out for bigger game now that the Republican sway in 
city politics was complete and growing increasingly stronger. 87 
Additional money and prestige can be two of nature's most com- 
pelling arguments the kind that rarely slip from the periphery 
of consciousness especially when a young man possessing a re- 
vered name has a political future that promises high. In view of 
the Harrison background, it is not surprising to learn that in the 
spring of 1858 the leaders of the new party were considering the 
advantages and merits of Benjamin Harrison's candidacy for the 
State Legislature. With Ben this was no light matter. He pon- 
dered it well. Was it a step in the right direction? Would he be 
charged with mere political opportunism? If he should choose 
to run and were successful, would his new duties preclude ade- 
quate attention to his law practice? 

These and kindred problems Ben mulled over for the better 
part of three weeks. Finally, he decided to present the question 
to his father. At least he could give counsel born of both interest 
and experience. His letter elicited an almost immediate reply: 

I received your letter of the 2$th yesterday. In regard to your be- 
coming a candidate for the legislature, I hardly know what to advise 
you. If you were obliged to leave home to attend to the legislature in 
case of your election, I would think it a bad policy. But as you would 
be at home, at least among your Business, if not attending to it, I do 
not believe that it would seriously affect your practice except so far 
as it might create an impression abroad that you had turned politi- 
cian and would probably neglect business entrusted to your care. I 
certainly would not consent to run unless I thought the prospect of 
being elected was pretty good. 

I do not believe that there is anything in the future of the Republi- 
can Party that would justify a man in making very great sacrifices to 
sustain its falling fortunes. 

If the "Little Giant" does not make some unforeseen blunders he 
has completely spiked the guns of the Republicans and taken from 
them their only effective battle cry. If the Kansas and Nebraska im- 
broglio is to be kept up which God in His mercy avert Mr. Douglas 
must lead the present Republican sentiment and consequently the 
party and all that portion having democratic antecedents (and their 
name is legion) will gladly receive Mr. Douglas as their leader. A few 

87 in the May 1858 election in Indianapolis the Republicans elected an entire 
ticket and a majority of the Coimtilmen. Indianapolis Directory, pp. 74-75. 











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:> your old Whigs may kick at this but it will do no good the ma- 
jority of your leaders are renegade democrats and they will ship you 
ill in 

Some of the leading Republican newspapers have pretty strongly 
linted at a willingness to take Mr. Douglas for their candidate in 
1860. . . . You have noticed that the Commercial that sore through 
vhich the Republican party of the country ejected their venom and 
ilthhas already pretty clearly indicated its willingness to fight with 
he Douglas banner, 

I look forward to a period in the future when you may occupy a 
ligh position among the political men of Indiana. But a false step 
low might spoil all. If I were in your place, I would content myself 
vith a general endorsement of the doctrines of the Republican Party. 
Vnd would not be too ardent in my support of all these (so called 
Republican principles) or you may find some of them are fallacious 
ind will not stand the test of true patriotism . . . and therefore you 
vill not long be popular with the American people 8S 

Days of speculation followed. Ben's indecision and hesitancy 
aused wonderment throughout the circles of his friends, and 
inally all talk of his candidacy for the State Legislature ceased. 
V few more intimate friends knew the story from the inside. The 
roung City Attorney was offered the important political post of 
iecretary to the State Republican Central Committee. When he 
leeded this call of his party by a ready acceptance of the position, 
nore than one of his contemporaries regarded this move with 
uspicipn and regret. Was this not accepting another "political 
lack"? Ben thought otherwise; history, it seems, would be willing 
o confirm his good judgment. When one considers his mature 
r ears as public servant and a leader of Indiana Republicanism, 
his early decision to become Secretary of the State Central Com- 
nittee seems prudent. First of all, it was a guarantee for state- 
vide introduction and familiarity with the leading figures in the 
lew party. Secondly, in the effective execution of his office he 
vould have no choice but to learn from the bottom up the es- 
ential details of organizational procedure. The collection of 
ampaign funds, and their expenditure in an age of increasingly 
ostly canvasses would also be-an experience of no little value. 

At the Bates House, Indianapolis, on July 10, 1858, an im- 
>ortant meeting of the State Republican Central Committee was 

88 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, January 29, 1858, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


convened. 89 In an effort to build up and put into smooth working 
order an efficient state machine the Committee passed several 
resolutions. One was an assessment of $25.00 on each thousand 
Republican votes in every county, taking as a basis the vote cast 
for Oliver Perry Morton, the gubernatorial candidate in 1856. 
As a start in his office, Harrison found himself responsible for the 
collection and distribution of these funds. 90 Two other resolu- 
tions passed at that meeting, however, were more significant, 
both to the party in general and to Benjamin in particular: 

Resolved: that this committee deem it of vital importance to the 
success of the Republican Party in Indiana in the coming contest that 
there should be a thorough organization of the party throughout the 
state, extending into the counties, townships and road or school dis- 
tricts: and that the Republican committees for the several counties 
be requested to have complete lists of all the voters in their counties 
made, designating them as Republican, American, Buchanan, Doug- 
las, and doubtful; that they be requested to send copies of such list 
to the secretary of this committee at as early a day as possible, or at 
least the aggregate of each class of voters. 

Resolved: that the members of this committee be requested to write 
the chairman at least once a month giving him information of the 
prospects of the political conditions of their localities: and that the 
members also be recommended to keep up correspondence with each 
other during the canvass. 91 

These instructions, of course, put Ben in contact with political 
chieftains ranging from Congressmen to County Chairmen. He 
usually closed his letters by saying: "I am directed by the Com- 
mittee to call your attention particularly to the resolution in 
reference to the raising the necessary funds and to request your 
prompt and energetic action in this matter." 92 

The opportunities for political advancement and political 
savoir faire that the faithful exercise of this office could bring 

89 Benjamin Harrison to the Hon. D. D. Pratt, July 27, 1858, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 3. 

90 This power was in virtue of a resolution offered by Mr. Brown, of Randolph: 
"Resolved: that the Secretary of this committee be constituted its treasurer and that 
the funds contemplated be placed in his hands as much as practicable and be 
held subject to the order of the chairman/' See Benjamin Harrison to Hon. Will 
Cumback, July 27, 1858, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

02 Several such letters were sent out under date of July 27, 1858. See Benjamin 
Harrison to Hon. D. D. Pratt, to Hon. Will Cumback, etc., Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 


were not neglected by the twenty-five-year-old secretary. More- 
over, so strong was the imprint of this experience that almost 
twenty-five years later, while serving in the United States Senate, 
he remembered the importance of this early political post. To his 
Indiana political confidant, Louis T. Michener, he expressed the 
hope that "our folks will make an effort to get some good secre- 
tary on our State Committee and keep the rooms open and the 
work going on." 98 

Despite the prominence of political affairs during 1858 and 
1859, these were by no means the all-absorbing interest. The 
neighbors of Ben and Carrie may have expressed wonderment at 
the arrival of an old crib crated and shipped from The Point. 
Was it for three-and-a-half-year old Russell, who now objected 
to being called "baby"? 94 Members of the family were charmingly 
delicate in their inquiries. From Kansas, brother Irwin wrote: 
"If modesty would not prevent, I should like to inquire after 
another nephew or niece that I have dreamed of as being at your 
house. I should like to know his or her name ... if a boy, and you 
give it my name, I will make my will in his favor, provided that I 
never marry." 95 

Irwin's letter arrived two weeks late. On Saturday, April 3, 
1858, Ben wrote in his diary for the fourth and last time that 
year: "Our Little Girl Born About Noon . . . after Carrie had 
gone through severe labor for about twelve hours . . . doctor had 
to use forceps " 96 Thus it was with the arrival of Mary forever 
to be called Mamie that Russell was superseded as the baby of 
the family. The newcomer, according to sister Jennie, was "a 
perfect little beauty . . . prettier than Russell." Poor Carrie came 

8 Benjamin Harrison to Louis T. Michener, December 8, 1882, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. is, No. 2574 (a Tibbott transcript). This letter was written in Washington and 
directed to Michener in Shelbyville, Indiana. 

94 John Scott wrote: "Your grandma who thinks of everything and everybody, 
insists that I shall send the old crib to Lawrenceburg tomorrow to be put enroute 
for Indianapolis. It is so richetty [sic] ... I am afraid it won't stand the journey." 
J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, February 8, 1858, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. Ben heeded his 
father's warning on the dilapidated condition of the crib. See "1858 Personal Bills, 
Checks, Notes, etc.," Harrison MSS. Under date of June 5, 1858, "paid $2.50 (bill of 
March 17th) to Tilford Furniture Co. for one crib mattress and repairing crib." 

95 Written from Camp Bateman, Kansas Territory, to Benjamin, April 17, 1858, 
Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. About to marry, Irwin confessed: "I suppose you think his 
chances are poor, yes, very poor, to make anything with the above proviso." 

96 Diary, April 3, 1858, Harrison MSS. 


in for little or no credit for this bundle of natural pulchritude, 
for Jennie added: "I think she must be pretty . . . sure enough . . . 
I suppose like her father ... of course." 97 

If we can believe the Indianapolis City historian, "the year 
1859 was another year of unbroken progress, but of meager in- 
terest. All that can be told of it can be condensed into a dozen 
words. Buildings going up, the city spreading in every direction, 
business increasing/* 98 The same short formula may be properly 
applied to Benjamin Harrison. His law practice was blossoming; 
his commission as Notary Public was renewed for four years, 
signed by Governor Asbel P. Willard; 99 above all, the horizon of 
his political future was promisingly bright. 

97 Jennie Harrison to Benjamin, June 22, 1858, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. 

98 Holloway, op. cit. f p. no. 

99 August 5, 1858, Harrison MSS, Vol. 3. The commission has been preserved. 


The Critical Years, 
1860 and 1861 

THE YEAR before young Harrison came to Indiana, Uncle 
Tom's Cabin was playing nightly to a full house in the 
state capital. 1 Thousands in the city were reading the 
book. People remembered Edward May saying that "the negro 
was either a man or brute/' 2 South of the Ohio, during those 
days, he was a chattel, a part of the stock, like a horse. North of 
the Ohio he was not a social or political entity, but he was a hu- 
man being. Then came Uncle Tom's Cabin to impress upon its 
readers that the Negro was a man of feeling, who could sufiEer 
as deeply as other men. Few believed that the novel recorded 
events that ordinarily happened to slaves, but everybody knew 
that it described things that might happen to any slave, and 
which had occasionally happened to some of them. The book 
was widely read in Indiana, not only for its story, but also be- 
cause the Beechers were prominent in the state and because the 
composite character of Uncle Tom was believed to have been 
drawn, in part at least, from an old Indianapolis Negro, for- 
merly a slave, who was known as "Uncle Tom" and whose hum- 
ble home was always called "Uncle Tom's Cabin." 3 

Soon, Helper's Impending Crisis was widely circulated and 
avidly read. Harrison himself had a hand in arranging a lec- 
ture program in 1856 that cheered Charles Sumner's presenta- 
tion of an abolitionist creed. On the same lecture platform one 

1 Ignatius Brown, History of hidianapolis from 1818 to the Present, in 
Indianapolis Directory, 1868, pp. 66-67. 

- Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans f I, 504 ff. 

3 Dunn, upon whom I have drawn heavily for these facts, goes on to say (pp. 504- 
6) that Uncle Tom "ivas very religious, was a favorite of Henry Ward Beecher, and 
his family coincided with that in the book. It was said that Mrs. Stowe visited his 
home, while at her brother's in Indianapolis." 



year later, Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, 
the most widely circulated Republican journal, was afforded an 
equally warm welcome by the city. 4 For a brief span the citizens 
supported a new Republican newspaper, the Indianapolis Daily 

Events such as these served to divide the community in which 
Harrison lived into sharply opposed political camps. Men of the 
Republican, Democratic and American parties engaged in con- 
tests marked by intense partisan feeling and much bitterness. 
Men of one stripe would believe anything of their opponents. 
The Democrats opposed prohibition; therefore, their adversaries 
denounced them as a party of whisky-drinkers. As the slavery 
question became prominent in Indianapolis, 5 the Democrats de- 
nounced the opposition as "nigger lovers" and "Black Republi- 
cans/' 6 and tempers flared. Devotion to party became almost 
a religion; party discipline, an eleventh commandment. Little 
wonder that men's eyes were frequently blinded to the truth. 7 
As Secretary to the Republican State Central Committee, Har- 
rison became experienced in political methodology and began 
to regard party declarations as almost infallible. 

As the dawn of 1860 broke, political fires burned brightly. A 
wild conflagration was certainly possible, and perhaps only the 
November presidential election would indicate whether a con- 
flict was "repressible" or "irrepressible." 8 Nothing daunted, by 
the middle of January, Harrison had reached his decision to 
stand for nomination on the Republican ticket for the office of 
Supreme Court Reporter of Indiana. 9 His aim was high. The 

* Brown, op. cit., pp. 71-73. These lectures were under the auspices of the Young 
Men's Christian Association in whose activities Benjamin Harrison played a prom- 
inent part. 

& The American Eagle (Paoli, Indiana), February *, 1859; March 15, 1860. 

6 Old Line Guard (Indianapolis, Indiana), January y-November 3, 1860, passim. 

7 J. H. Holliday, Indianapolis and the Civil War, pp. 542-43. 

8 For the most up-to-date and usable bibliography and treatment of this subject 
see Howard K. Beale's chapter, "What Historians Have Said About The Causes of 
the Civil War," in Bulletin 54, Theory and Practice in Historical Study: A Report 
of the Committee on Historiography (New York, 1946), pp. 53-102. 

9 The first Reporter of the Supreme Court of note was A. G. Porter, later Gov- 
ernor of the state. Under the old Constitution the cases had been reported by Judge 
Blackfbrd, who used to hang the proofs in the Law Library so that attorneys 
might point out any errors. Porter's brilliance resulted in recommendation by the 
Supreme Court Judges and to election by a large majority in 1854. He and Harri- 
son were always friendly and in 1888, Ben appointed him Minister to Italy. See 
Dunn, op. cit. f II, 716-18. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 137 

post was not only a dignified one, but most lucrative. Immedi- 
ately, he found himself confronted with a hard fight from two 
quarters. He faced formidable opposition in his own party; and 
he also realized that, even if he should be successful on the con- 
vention floor, he was in for a "dog-fight" type of campaign against 
the Democratic nominee, Michael C. Kerr. The latter also was 
destined for Washington, a man whose talents and popularity 
would win for him the Speakership of the House of Representa- 
tives. 10 

Indianapolis played host to both state conventions in 1860. 
Early in January the Democrats assembled and fired the first shot 
in what proved to be one of the most decisive political campaigns 
in history. 11 Viewed from Washington, the Indiana stakes were 
high. The state was a "political prize, ranking third in north- 
western states in convention and electoral votes." 12 Democrats 
and Republicans alike considered the Hoosier vote indispensa- 
ble to national success, and state party leaders determined to 
carve out strong tickets from the best possible political timber. 
The contest promised to be "unprecedented in interest and bit- 
terness," 18 and the political strategists believed that "victories in 
pivotal Pennsylvania and indispensable Indiana in October . . . 
all but marked the inevitability of Lincoln's victory." 14 

On January nth the Douglas Democrats seized control of the 
state convention. With the zeal of insurgents they repudiated 
the Buchanan administration by nominating Thomas A. Hen- 
dricks for Governor. Politically, it was an excellent choice. This 
forty-year-old Hoosier lawyer was a most "available" candidate 
and had already attained a high degree of personal popularity. 15 

10 Ibid., pp. 562-66. Kerr died in office. See Biographical Directory of the Ameri- 
can Congress, 1774-1949 (Washington, D. C., 1950), p. 1407 for details on Michael 
Crawford Kerr. 

11 Reinhard H. Luthin, The First Lincoln Campaign, p. 226: "The campaign of 
1860, besides being one of the most momentous in American History, was one of 
the most remarkable insofar as the winning candidate, Abraham Lincoln, did not 
represent a majority of the voters." 

13 Brown, op. ciL, pp. 78-80. 

14 Luthin, op. cit. f p. 326. 

15 See John W. Holcombe and Hubert M. Skinner, Life and Public Services of 
Thomas A. Hendricks (Indianapolis, 1886), pp. 202-4. Hendricks had just resigned 
his post as Commissioner of the General Land Office. His removal from the field of 
active politics, while serving in this latter office, had made him the man upon whom 


e remainder of the Democratic slate was filled with popular 
I capable men. The two candidates in whom Harrison mani- 
ed a personal interest were David Turpie, nominee for Lieu- 
ant-Governor, 16 and Michael C. Kerr, the party's selection for 
office of Reporter of the Supreme Court. The ensuing cam- 
jn was calculated to be, as Turpie himself called it, a battle 
political giants. 17 

This challenge to forge an equally strong ticket was accepted 
the Republicans on Washington's Birthday. Their conven- 
i nominated Henry S. Lane, "the steadfast disciple of Henry 
y," 18 for Governor. The latter's vigorous activity in found- 
Hoosier Republicanism, his proficiency as a stump speaker, 
. his overwhelming popularity with the rank and file insured 
>ng leadership. 19 The second place on the ticket was filled by 
ver P. Morton, whose leadership had already been demon- 
ted in his vigorous campaign for Governor in 1856. It was 
political secret that the two top candidates on both tickets 
e aiming at higher political berths. 20 

Though the head of the ticket was nominated "without too 
ch show of a struggle," 21 the nomination for Reporter of the 
>reme Court was a real battle that was carried to the floor of 
convention. Finally, the contest was narrowed down to three 
rants: Mark L. De Motte, later Congressman from Indiana's 
i District; John F. Miller of St. Joseph County, later United 
.es Senator from California; and Benjamin Harrison of Mar- 
County. According to De Motte, the fight was "vigorously 
[ed," 22 but Harrison, by a rousing speech to the convention, 

ided party could most easily unite. Kenneth M. Stampp, Indiana Politics dur- 
\he Civil War, pp. 17-19. 
An Indianapolis lawyer who was to succeed Harrison in the U. S. Senate in 

According to Dunn, op. cit., p. 562, citing Turpie's own book, Sketches of My 
Times (Indianapolis, 1903). 
Stampp, op. cit., p. 27. 

Walter R. Sharp, "Henry S. Lane and the Foundation of the Republican 
f in Indiana/' Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7 (1920-21), 93112. 
"If the Republicans carried the state, Mr. Lane was to be elected to the Sen- 
VTr. Morton succeeding to the governorship; if our party (quoting Turpie) pre- 
d, similar changes were to be the result. The result in October carried out in 
this arrangement ... the future in some degree carried it still further ... all 
. . . became senators.** Dunn, op. cit., I, 563. 
Fort Wayne Sentinel, February 25, 1860. 

An undated newspaper clipping in Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook No. 52, p. 
[arrison MSS. 


won the nomination. It was the young lawyer's first major politi- 
cal move within the party, and in later years he remembered it 
and talked about it frequently. 28 

John Scott Harrison wrote to his son that he was "gratified at 
your success in the convention ... [I] hope that your election 
may be as triumphant as your nomination was flattering." 24 But 
the politically battle-wise father rebuked Ben for voicing "some 
very complimentary things of Mr. C. Clay of Kentucky." He 
feared that his son was damaging his political chances before he 
even went before the Indiana electorate. 

In John Scott's eyes, as well as in the opinion of many Ken- 
tucky and Indiana citizens, Cassius Marcellus Clay was noth- 
ing less than a political apostate. Hailing from Kentucky, tra- 
ditionally a citadel of Whiggery, and claiming direct descent 
from Henry Clay, America's renowned Compromiser, middle- 
aged "Cash" Clay shocked every conservative Kentuckian, when 
he bent every effort to organize the Republican party in the 
blue grass country and campaigned vigorously for the election 
of Fremont. He had charged to him innumerable anti-slavery 
speeches and was considered by conservatives to be as danger- 
ous as Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. Clay was thinking along 
the same lines as Benjamin Harrison, though the Kentuckian 
was prudent enough to moderate his anti-slavery views while he 
engineered his own boom for the Republican Presidential nomi- 
nation. 25 

Before the Republicans in Indiana adjourned their Indian- 
apolis convention, they gave evidence in their platform that 
John Scott Harrison was entirely correct in issuing his paternal 
admonition: "You may rely upon it that the people of Indiana 
are not prepared to adopt . , . the very ultra . . . anti-slavery 
sentiments of Mr. 'Cash' (as he calls himself)." 26 This was no 
understatement. The platform retreated noticeably from the ad- 
vanced position on slavery extension reached at Philadelphia four 

28 De Motte recalled: "We all met in Washington. I was a member of the House 
of Representatives; General Harrison was a Senator from this state, and John F. 
Miller was Senator from California. One evening we met and whiled away the 
hours until almost midnight recalling the events of the contest/' Benjamin Harri- 
son Scrapbook No. 52, p. 91, Harrison MSS. 

24 J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, February 34, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

25 Luthin, op. tit., pp. 114-16. 

26 J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, February 24, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


ears earlier. 27 Without doubt, the "irrepressibles" in the party 
:ere bitterly disappointed, while the "accommodators" were 
:ell pleased with their handiwork, particularly since the Indian- 
polls platform was far from reaffirming the power and duty of 
bngress to exclude slavery from all the territories. Actually, the 
latform merely denounced the doctrine that the Constitution 
y itself carried slavery into the territories and vaguely promised 
:> oppose slavery extension by all constitutional means. 28 So in- 
ocuous a statement of policy displeased Ben Harrison, for it did 
ot resolve the issue of slavery extension; it only deferred it. 

Benjamin had a mind of his own; what is more important, he 
f as willing to express it. Even though he had been chided by his 
ither for entertaining and echoing radical sentiments, the young 
olitician must be credited for paying close attention to John 
cott's further remark: "I like to see a candidate honest and out- 
x)ken." 20 In favoring the candidacy of Cassius Clay, the ardent 
Dung Republican felt that he was backing the man who would 
o most to check the spread of slavery. As his own campaign 
otes 30 demonstrate, he was certain that he was holding the same 
round as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. With telling effect 
e cited Henry Clay's early speeches, usually ending with the 
.entuckian's famous remark made during the Compromise de- 
ates of 1850, when in his intense anxiety for peace he went as 
IT as his conscience would permit in concession to slavery. Clay 
ad declared again and again that he would never vote to extend 

over territory then free: 

As long as God allows the vital current to flow through my veins, 
will never, never, by word or thought, by mind or will, aid in ad- 
itting to one rood of Free Territory the Everlasting Curse of Hu- 
.an Bondage. 81 

27 Starapp, op. cit. f p. 29. 

28 "The rest of the platform aroused no opposition. It demanded the immediate 
Imission of Kansas as a free state, a homestead law, and the construction of a 
inscontinental railroad. It also proclaimed Republican devotion to the Union." 

20 J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, February $4, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 

30 "1860 Campaign Notes," a small notebook, six inches by three-and-a-half 

dies, which Ben used in the 1860 campaign. Harrison MSS. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 14! 

Ben, it seems, was pretty much alone in these thoughts. Not 
only his father, 32 but also a majority of the Indiana delegates to 
the Republican National Convention, 33 favored the nomination 
of the conservative Mr. Bates for president. This momentous 
event, however, was still almost three months removed. In the 
meantime it was imperative that the Republican nominee for 
Supreme Court Reporter stump the state, meet the people, and 
address their political assemblies. 

Traditionally, Hoosier politicians were and are an energetic 
breed; hence, it caused no wonderment that the nominees for 
state office did not wait for the national convention of 1860 to 
define party policy before launching their own campaigns. Per- 
haps few foresaw the magnitude of the impending crisis; some- 
how, even a smaller number possessed a clear concept of the 
underlying issues at stake. Even so, there was not the slightest 
semblance of apathy among the electorate. 84 

On March 10, Lane and Morton opened the Republican can- 
vass at Terre Haute. The role of party keynoter fell to Oliver 
Perry Morton. 35 The opening shot was directed right at the heart 
of slavery. Here, Morton proved himself a notable exception to 
the rule that most of the speakers on both sides tended to ignore 
the real issues. Political wisdom dictated that the Republicans 
adopt Morton's speech as their campaign textbook. Lane, con- 
servative by nature, was allowed to fill a position in which he 
could adapt his remarks to fit popular sentiment in different 
parts of the state. 36 

The remainder of the state ticket was not idle. Harrison made 
his first speech in the campaign at the thriving town of Lebanon, 
seat of Boone County, about twenty-five miles due north of In- 
dianapolis. This youngest of the Republican candidates was only 

32 j. s. Harrison to Benjamin, February 24, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

33 Howard K. Beale (ed.), The Diary of Edward Bates 1859-1866 (Washington, 
D. C., 1933), p. 102. 

84 See Stampp, op. cit., pp. 31-48. 

35 Indianapolis Daily Journal, March 13, 16, 1860; also W. D. Foulke, 0. P. Mor- 
ton, I, 67-72. For a briefer treatment, see Charles M. Walker, Sketch of the Life, 
Character, and Public Service of Oliver P. Morton (Indianapolis, 1878), pp. 31-35. 

36 James A. Woodburn, "Henry Smith Lane/' Indiana Magazine of History, 27 
(i93 283-84. It was possible for Lane's position on slavery to shift remarkably. 


twenty-seven, exceedingly boyish in appearance, short of stature 
and slim of figure. He did not begin to take on flesh till several 
years afterward. 37 

A large crowd, collected in a grove, was awaiting the appear- 
ance of Caleb Blood Smith, 38 the day's principal speaker. An 
accomplished orator and a one-time enthusiastic Whig of the old 
school, Smith was one of the mighty in the Republican Party. 
He was chairman of the Indiana delegation to the National Re- 
publican Convention and also filled the post of delegate-at-large. 
From his vivid memory he could have spun for young Harrison, 
or for anyone who would lend him an ear, many a colorful yarn 
about the enthusiastic log-cabin campaign and presidential vic- 
tory of William Henry Harrison in i84o. 39 He cherished a hope 
that the victory fires of twenty years ago might be rekindled this 
year. Caleb Smith was never a profound thinker, but as a story- 
teller he had few equals. He was gifted with an eloquence that 
charmed his hearers and could always arouse his audience to a 
high pitch of enthusiasm. 40 

This Lebanon husting was opened by Mr. Smith, and, ac- 
cording to all reports, 41 he made one of his better speeches. The 
people alternately laughed and shouted as he poked fun at the 
candidates on the Democratic ticket and blistered them with his 
sarcasm. Nevertheless, with a wisdom characteristic of seasoned 
campaigners, he said little on the pertinent election issues. He 
had little to say about the Dred Scott decision, little about Kan- 
sas, but a good deal about the split in the Democratic Party. To 
the burning question of slavery there was scarcely a reference. 

When Smith had accepted the thunderous applause and had 
bowed out, the crowd began to wander away from the speaker's 

87 This description was the eye-witness account of William Henry Smith, then 
connected with the Atlas, an Indianapolis afternoon paper published by John D. 
Defrees, later a warm devotee of Lincoln and a close friend of Harrison. W. H. 
Smith, "Personal Recollections," a newspaper clipping in Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 
52, p. 102, Harrison MSS. 

88 Louis J. Bailey, "Caleb Blood Smith," Indiana Magazine of History, 29 
(1933), 813-39- 

39 John B. Martin, Indiana: An Interpretation (New York, 1947), p. 46. 

40 Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 52, p. 102, Harrison MSS. 

Smith's account in the Indianapolis Daily Atlas. He had heard Caleb Smith 
many times. He also knew Harrison personally, but he had never heard him speak 
in public previous to this meeting. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 143 

stand. Although Benjamin Harrison was to be the second speaker, 
political anonymity cloaked him. Probably not more than fifty 
persons in the audience had ever heard of him. The chairman 
of the meeting undertook to introduce him and, had he con- 
tinued a minute or two longer, the scheduled speaker would have 
found no one in front of him, so rapidly were the people depart- 
ing. The embarrassing situation, however, was short-lived. The 
Atlas reporter gives the happy sequel in these words: 

Mr. Harrison had the same sharp, rasping voice that became famous 
in after years, and with almost his first utterance he caused the crowd 
to pause. Some stopped a moment to look at the boyish figure as he 
stood on the stand, with his fingers in his trouser pockets. 

Another sentence shot out, reaching to the very verge of the crowd 
and more of them paused to listen. They began to get back toward 
the stand, drop into their seats, or lean against some of the trees. 
Those who had got some distance away looked back and saw the de- 
serted seats being filled up, and they, too, came back. 42 

Within ten minutes, stump-speaker Harrison had the crowd 
"straining to hear the terse and rugged sentences as they fell from 
his lips." 48 There was no attempt at star-spangled oratory, no 
flights of eloquence, no amusing anecdotes. Ben got down to facts 
immediately, warning his audience of the dangers that menaced 
the country. He had courage, if not wisdom, with him, for he 
went so far as to prophesy concerning "the insidious inroads of 
the slavery power . . . unless the people arose in their might and 
put an end to them." 44 The remainder of the speech was a clear 
and logical presentation of the issues, as the young candidate un- 
derstood them. Harrison discussed the slavery issue in such a way 
that the people of Lebanon could not mistake his mind on the 
subject. They understood that with him the whole question re- 
volved around the one central idea that the extension of the slave 
territory must stop; that to yield to the demands of the Southern 
leaders could end only in making all the country slave territory. 
First and last he stood with Abraham Lincoln in the railsplitter's 

42 w. H. Smith, "Personal Recollections," Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 
53, p. los, Harrison MSS. 

43 ibid. 

44 ibid. 


declaration that a house divided against itself could not stand, 
and that the country must become wholly free or wholly slave. 45 

Harrison's open espousal of Republicanism a force looming 
ever larger on the horizon gave him the advantage of having the 
offensive in the campaign. Certainly, during the first two months 
of the Indiana canvass, his Democratic opponents were clearly on 
the defensive. Strangely enough, the historic Democracy which 
had the "one best hope of saving the Union was threatened with 
hopeless discord/' 46 

Indiana Democracy, however, was not long content to leave 
the initiative with the Republicans. 47 By April, Hendricks, David 
Turpie and other party leaders inaugurated a more active pro- 
gram of stump-speaking. 48 Soon, practically all of the opposing 
candidates paired off to begin a series of joint debates. Leading 
the parade were the gubernatorial candidates, Lane and Hen- 
dricks, who attracted by far the larger crowds throughout the 
state. Frequently, the character of their respective political ha- 
rangues was determined more by the geography of the state than 
by their own personal convictions. In the north the Republican 
leaders found that abolitionism was a strong and popular speak- 
ing point; in the communities of southern Indiana, however, 
their battle cry rang out as a plea for non-interference with slav- 
ery in the states, and for its non-extension into the territories. 
With so shifting and illogical a platform, Harrison could not 
agree. His sense of logic protested and he soon made up his own 
permanent set of campaign notes. It was June before he could 
put them to effective use, following a post-convention lull in the 
state campaign. 

In mid-May of 1860, Chicago's wigwam welcomed the national 
Republican forces. Harrison was not a delegate, though a great 
flurry of excitement and interest swept through the family cir- 

45 This had been Lincoln's warning at the Republican state convention at 
Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858. See A. J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln (Boston 
and New York, 1928), II, 577. 

46 James G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction (Boston, 1937), p. 174: 
"no other party (than the Democratic) had both the likelihood of success if united, 
and the ability to hold the country together if successful." 

47 Stampp, op. cit., p. 33. 

48 Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel, April 30, 1860. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 145 

cle because Ben's married sister, Sallie, misread the newspapers 
and believed that he was going to Chicago in that capacity. 49 
W. R. Harrison, of Indianapolis, not Benjamin, was the delegate 
chosen. 50 

Harrison scrutinized the columns of the Indianapolis Daily 
Journal for an account of the part played by the Indiana leaders 
assembled in the two-story wooden wigwam. 51 Inasmuch as his 
stump partner, Caleb B. Smith, was chairman of the Hoosier 
delegation, as well as one of the delegates-at-large, Harrison prob- 
ably knew beforehand the plan of the Indianans. His own earlier 
preference for Cassius Clay faded rapidly as the choice of Hoosier 
Republicanism narrowed down to Bates of Missouri or Lincoln 
of Illinois. The final decision rested primarily with Smith, 52 a 
politician who was willing to be convinced one way or the other. 
Seemingly attracted and won over by the offer of a cabinet posi- 
tion, Smith threw his influence behind Lincoln, and at the In- 
diana caucus on May 15 he successfully stifled the pro-Bates 
element. Four days later, on the third ballot, Lincoln was nomi- 
nated. Indiana voted solidly for her former illustrious resident. 

Despite his callow political youth, no one realized more clearly 
than Benjamin Harrison that the party of his choice was becom- 
ing a formidable organization partly by virtue of the Democratic 
family troubles. 53 Both before and after Lincoln's nomination in 
Chicago, the bitter controversy between President Buchanan and 
Senator Douglas of Illinoisa feud of long standing 54 was chiefly 
responsible for the hopeless split within Democracy. Ben and his 

49 Sallie (Harrison) Devin to Benjamin, April 20, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4: "I 
see by the papers you have been appointed a delegate at the Chicago convention 
. . . What time shall I meet you there?" 

50 Cincinnati Enquirer, February 24, 1860. 

51 For a detailed description of the work of the Indiana delegation at Chicago, 
see Charles Roll, "Indiana's Part in the Nomination of Abraham Lincoln for Presi- 
dent in 1860," Indiana Magazine of History, 25 (1929), 1-13. 

52 Luthin, op. cit., pp. 140-42; see also his "Indiana and Lincoln's Rise to the 
Presidency," Indiana Magazine of History, 38 (1942), 385-405. 

53 George Fort Milton, The Eve of Conflict (Boston, 1934), pp. 370-^80. This 
section recounts the dismal story of the Democratic party in its death throes. 

54 See Philip G. Auchampaugh, "The Buchanan-Douglas Feud," Journal of the 
Illinois State Historical Society, 25 (1932), 5-48; Louis M. Sears, John Slidell (Dur- 
ham, N. C., 1925), and the same author's "Slidell and Buchanan," American His- 
torical Review, 27 (July, 1922), 712-24. 


Republican fellows did not conceal their joy on April 30, when 
the cotton-state delegates stalked out of the Democratic national 
convention at Charleston, South Carolina. The inevitable break 
had occurred. Contrasted with Republican solidarity at Chica- 
go, this bewildering disruption of the Charleston conclave was 
viewed by Democrats with serious regret. There was no mistak- 
ing this omen. The death knell of the Democratic Party was 
slowly tolling. 

Down the road of disunity went the Democrats. At Baltimore 
in June the northern Democracy named Stephen A. Douglas for 
President. The Charleston "bolters" subsequently convened in 
Baltimore and Richmond before they could emerge with a na- 
tional ticket composed of Kentucky's John Breckinridge and 
Oregon's Joseph Lane. 55 During the interval between the con- 
ventions at Charleston and Baltimore, as we have seen, the Re- 
publicans had gleefully nominated Lincoln and Hamlin. 

As if this devasting split between the North and the South 
did not augur sufficient ill for Democracy, a new party, bearing 
the name National Constitutional Union, entered the arena of 
national politics. Composed of former American or Know-Noth- 
ing Party members, this party met in convention at Baltimore 
and put forward as candidates two conservatives: Senator John 
Bell of Tennessee for President and Edward Everett of Massachu- 
setts for Vice-President. 56 Early in May, Horace Greeley tagged 
this Bell-Everett combine as "The Old Gentlemen's Party." 57 

Harrison's father gave his active support to the Constitutional 
Unionists, for he had found it impossible to cast his lot with 
either the Republicans or the Democrats. 58 Ben learned of his 

C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, was Vice-President under Buchanan 
(1857-1861) and a leader of the Southern Democrats. Joseph Lane was United 
States Senator from Oregon. See Emerson D. Fite, The Presidential Campaign of 
2860 (New York, 1911); and Randall, op. cit. t pp. 176-81. 

5 The vice-presidential nominee, Edward Everett, was a good front man. Hav- 
ing served as Secretary of State, Minister to Great Britain, and President of Har- 
vard, he was sufficiently well known and did not resort to crusading. "Like Bell, 
he adopted a colorless and negative attitude ... to avoid offending the South." 
Randall, op. cit. f pp. 104, 181. 

BT New York Daily Tribune, May 11, 1860. 

58 Actually, John Scott Harrison did not trifle with offers from the Ohio Demo- 
crats; in 1861 he refused to accept their nomination for the office of Lieutenant 
Governor. Scrapbook No. 52, pp. 83-36, Harrison MSS. That he was a Bell-Everett 
supporter is clear from his letters to Ben, June through October, 1860, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 4. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 147 

father's new political allegiance quite early in the campaign, but 
this paternal devotion to the cause of the Constitutional Union- 
ists in no wise served to soften the son's stump assaults on John 
Bell. Under the caption, "Ben Harrison vs. John Bell," the Paoli 
American Eagle wrote: 

The grandson of General Harrison, candidate for Reporter of the 
Supreme Court of Indiana, said in his speech in the Court House at 
Rockport on last Tuesday that inquiry has been made into John 
Bell's record, and it was ascertained to be similar to that of Breck- 
inridge and Lane. "Freemen of Spencer County" (said the speaker) 
"will you vote for Bell and Everett? Better for you to place your heel, 
and grind them into the dust." 59 

No man is a prophet in his own country, and when Benjamin's 
tour of political duty brought him to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, 
for a speech, one so well versed in Scripture as he was ought to 
have given some heed to that pregnant Biblical admonition. Yet 
in this territory so familiar to him from his boyhood days, Har- 
rison's Republican zeal outran his political prudence and his usu- 
ally reliable sense of history. Zeal without knowledge has been 
called the sister of folly, and once Ben had read the stinging re- 
buke penned him by his own father after the Lawrenceburg ad- 
dress, he knew he had classed himself among the foolish. 

Fortunately, in one sense at least, John Scott Harrison was "too 
sick to be out of the house" on that June afternoon on which his 
son sharply assailed the "slave oligarchy and the slave aristocracy" 
of the South. Even so, when the Cincinnati Gazette printed an 
extended report of Harrison's Lawrenceburg speech, this gentle- 
man of the old school was so deeply incensed that he severely 
lectured his son on the necessity of observing the canons of ve- 
racity in public addresses. More especially did he berate Ben's 
"use of terms of reproach and scorn towards Southern gentle- 
men." To Scott Harrison, whose four years in Washington gave 
him many a friend from the South, these charges by an inexperi- 
enced, overzealous stump speaker, even if he was his flesh and 
blood, were sheer calumny. The young man was perhaps shocked 
into sober reality by his father's chiding question: "How can I 
trust men whom I know have been educated to hate any man 

59 American Eagle, October 4, 1860. 


South of the Mason and Dixon line? As much as I hate Democ- 
racy I do believe there is more safety in that than in Republican- 
ism as at present defined.' 160 

John Scott Harrison did not content himself with a flat contra- 
diction of Ben's attack on the Southern gentry as "all wrong . . . 
because it is not true." He ventured to teach his son an impor- 
tant lesson. "You will allow me to correct you ... I have resided 
in Washington and you have not . . . and I assure [you] . . . there 
is not in this land a more religious, moral, upright people than 
those of Washington City." If this bit of reproof did not entirely 
deflate the young Republican warrior, whose emotions had evi- 
dently dulled his historical acumen at Lawrenceburg, Ben was 
thoroughly humbled by his father's timely reference to the re- 
vered memory of William Henry Harrison. It hurt Ben deeply, as 
he read: 

Your speech going out as it does in the Gazette will reach the eye 
of many a friend of your Grandfather who will regret to see such 
sentiments emanating from a grandson. . . . They will regard him a 
little on the agrarian order. I am confident that a man loses by such 
sentiments. He may collect a few of the uneducated and prejudiced 
crowd . . . but he will soon lose with intelligent men. 

I had hoped that you would never find it necessary to talk about 
"slave oligarchy or slave aristocracy." . . . Let me advise you not to 
use these terms . . . leave them to Chase and Giddings et id omne 
genus.* 1 

This was a bitter potion for Ben to swallow, but he downed 
it manfully. He learned his lesson well. Blackguardism had no 
place in his oratorical attempts during the remainder of the cam- 
paign. Within a month, David Swing, the man who had wrested 
first academic honors from Ben at Miami in 1852, wrote him a 
letter of congratulation. Paradoxically, Swing, now a member of 

60 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, June is, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

61/Wd. Of all John Scott's letters to Ben of a political and personal nature, this 
is one of the longest and most important. This was no mere political squabble. At 
the outset, John Scott admitted: "I do not of course concur in all that you said on 
that occasion [at Lawrenceburg], and do not propose to contest with you the lead- 
ing principles of the policy you advocate." His main purpose was to teach his son 
a lesson in character formation. Once he had thoroughly reproved him for his ill- 
starred section on the South and her people, he concluded his letter by saying: 
"The main body of your speech was good and the sentiments were such as would 
need little objection from any of your opposition. . . ." 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, l86o AND l86l 149 

the cloth, wrote from Oxford, Ohio, to compliment his former 
college fellow "on the high character of your political addresses." 
One paragraph of this letter reveals Harrison's progress: 

I am glad to read many notices of the high character of your politi- 
cal addresses. While we were together in college my only doubts about 
your future were based upon your apparent want of health of body. 
You will not consider it flattery, if I say to you that you always had 
the mens sana. But your almost rugged appearance of the present 
makes me feel that there is nothing in the way of your great success 
in life. 62 

Perhaps even more pleasing to Ben than Swing's meed of praise 
was a friendly letter from his father, the first since the latter's 
scolding after the intemperate speech at Lawrenceburg. John 
Scott designed to pay high tribute to his son's intellectual hon- 

While I would have been glad on your account, as well as my own, 
that you could have felt it your duty to pursue a more conservative 
political course, I shall not doubt that in adopting a more ultra one, 
you are governed by the honest convictions of your judgment 68 

May, June, and July had been highlighted by an almost end- 
less series of national conventions. The political excitement and 
interest of these gatherings had somewhat detracted from the 
luster of the keen struggle within the states themselves. In Au- 
gust, however, as the Indiana campaign entered its final phase, 
the canvass rivaled the heat in intensity. Stump-speaking under 
a broiling sun was no pleasure; only the close proximity of the 
state elections scheduled for October 9 gave the inspiration and 
strength necessary for final perseverance. During these twilight 
days of the political battle, Harrison did most of his campaigning 

2 David Swing to Benjamin Harrison, July 10, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
Swing concluded by saying: "My sympathies are all with you not only from our one- 
ness in the Church and State but from the fact that we were classmates in other 
days . . . give my kindest regards to Carrie . . ." 

63 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, July 23, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. The 
long delay in writing was caused by John Scott's many political engagements. He 
claimed he felt neither irritation nor unkindness toward Ben, though he did prom- 
ise: "I will not hereafter interfere with your political course." 


in what is known as the "pocket district" of Indiana. 64 Quite 
coincidentally, it was during this part of the state canvass that 
some of the more interesting episodes of Ben's early career 

On one occasion, Harrison was billed to speak in the town of 
Rockport, located at the very southern tip of Indiana. As in most 
of his other campaign trips, horse-and-buggy transportation was 
secured, but the novelty of driving over the country in a wagon 
had long since left Ben. 65 Actually, he was a tired, travel-worn and 
campaign-weary gentleman when he arrived in town to address 
an audience that was none too friendly. This latent hostility was 
nothing personal; rather, it was an attitude along the Kentucky 
border that was reserved for Black Republicans. On his way to 
Rockport, Harrison took out his diminutive book of political 
notes and began to prepare his speech. He planned to make his 
whole speech an answer, point by point, to some recent state- 
ments made by Hendricks, the Democratic candidate for Gover- 

This particular political assembly was well attended, and this 
political novice was careful to make an exceptionally benevolent 
introduction. He built up Hendricks with a view to knocking 
him down by quoting from the latter's own statements in the 
press. When it came time to read the clippings, Harrison pulled 
out his little note book. He was momentarily startled. Feverishly 
he searched its pages, but in vain; the one he wanted could not 
be found. Only his quick wit saved him from serious embar- 
rassment. "Gentlemen," he said finally, "I carefully pasted that 
extract from Mr. Hendricks' speech in my note book, and I am 
sure I used good mucilage, but it has disappeared. It simply goes 
to show that not a thing Thomas A. Hendricks says will stick." 66 
This unexpected bit of merriment drew loud cheers and applause 
from the crowd. Indifferent, hostile glances melted into warm 
smiles of approval. 

The real highlight of the campaign, as far as Benjamin Harri- 

64 Lew Wallace, Life of Gen. Ben Harrison, pp. 81-83. Ben's careful preparation 
of his speeches during this stretch drive brought their own reward. They were 
well received. The "pocket district" is the extreme southwestern sector of Indiana, 
centering about Evansville. 

65 Indianapolis News, March 14, 1901. 

66 An undated newspaper clipping in the Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 52, p. 92, 
Harrison MSS. 


son was concerned, came upon him most unexpectedly. In late 
August he arrived at the town of Rockville in Parke County, 
where he was scheduled to make an appearance at the courthouse. 
He was much alarmed when he discovered that Thomas Hen- 
dricks had a meeting for the same hour at the same place. The 
people were clamoring for a joint debate. Harrison hesitated a 
moment, while he sized up the situation. Mr. Hendricks was 
a formidable platform opponent, the leader of the Democratic 
Party in the state, a speaker and debater whose reputation was 
national. When pressed to debate with this man, Ben made a 
very apt reply: "This is, of course, a very unfair proposal. Mr. 
Hendricks is at the head of the Democratic ticket, while I am at 
the tail of the Republican ticket." 67 Finally, however, Ben agreed 
to a joint meeting. 

The courthouse was jammed. John Davis and Daniel Voorhees, 
two of Indiana's leading Democrats, occupied prominent seats 
along with Mr. Hendricks. Benjamin Harrison was not even of- 
fered a chair. He sat on the edge of a desk, with his feet dangling 
not quite to the floor, and waited his turn. Hendricks rose. The 
two hours allotted to him turned into four. He was overwhelmed 
with applause. Taking his seat, he generously suggested that the 
spectators remain and give ear to his youthful opponent. 68 

Ben, arranging his papers, faced a profound silence. The audi- 
ence stared at him blankly. One thing he knew for certain. This 
crowd, after four hours, was weary of speech-making. He began 
by complimenting Hendricks, though his words did not come 
from his heart. 69 Then, with workmanlike precision, he stated a 
proposition, and declared that earlier the Democrats had con- 
ceded its truth. This caused a stir in the crowd, a little short of 
sensation. Before any demonstration could be made for the point 

67 Wallace, op. tit., p. 83. 

68 There is an abundance of source material for this famous meeting between a 
future President and a future Vice-President. The most readable account ism House 
Document No. 154, pp. 129-30, written by the late Ross F. Lockridge, Jr., on whom 
I have drawn heavily. Wallace, op. tit., pp. 82-86, contains several colorful details 
omitted in Lockridge's condensed account, and there are any number of newspaper 
accounts readily available in the Harrison Scrapbooks, especially Vol. 52, pp. 77-92. 

69 During the Atlanta Campaign in the spring of 1864, Harrison was induced to 
mention Hendricks' name in a letter to his wife. Praising Gen. O. O. Howard, he 
wrote: "He is a good deal like Tom Hendricks in his manner and tone of voice. 
He has that same easy, gentle, persuasive mode of speech, but one is not led to look 
for deceit and cunning beneath it f as I always was in Hendricks." Benjamin Harri- 
son to his wife, March 22, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5, pp. 963-64. 


Harrison had scored, Mr. Voorhees, the "Tall Sycamore of the 
Wabash," stood up in a stately manner and denied the truth of 
Harrison's charge. Like the report of a pistol, the clear voice of 
the little lawyer came back at him: "Fellow Citizens, the denial 
to which we have listened induces me to amend my assertion. I 
now say that every Democrat approved the proposition, except 
Mr. Voorhees. He was then a Whig." 70 

With a spontaneity that distinguishes an American political 
audience, a tremendous yell of approval burst out. From this 
demonstration Harrison took it that the house was well stocked 
with Republicans. With new-found pleasure and charm, he took 
up Mr. Hendricks' points, and answered them briefly one by one, 
supporting each statement with facts from his note book. 71 He 
demolished his opponent's position with a calm confidence that 
would later always characterize him as a speaker. Rockville Re- 
publicans were wont afterward to remark: "Such a drubbing as 
the little fellow did give them. And he was so clean about it. No 
abuse, no blackguarding. I would walk a hundred miles to see it 
done over." 72 The chairman of the meeting remarked afterward: 
"I have heard a good many political debates in my day, but I 
never heard a man skin an opponent as quickly as Ben Harri- 
son did Hendricks that day." 78 The story spread through the 
state, and the Republican candidate for Reporter of the Supreme 
Court soon enjoyed a reputation that considerably strengthened 
his chances for election. 

As this 1860 war of words was drawing to a close, its comple- 
ment was found in the spectacular political demonstrations that 
were conducted throughout the state. In many respects, Ben's 
first major Hoosier campaign was almost as colorful as the vic- 
torious fight of his grandfather in 1840, those unforgettable days 
of "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." Each closing day of the state 
canvass in 1860 was marked by "speeches, day and night, torch- 
light processions, and all kinds of noise and confusion." 74 At In- 
to Wallace, op. cit., p. 85. 

71 In the Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, pp. 613-32, there is a ten-page typewritten ac- 
count of the argumentation used in this joint debate. It is culled directly from the 
Indiana newspaper, the Parke County Republican, August 29, 1860. 

72 Wallace, op. cit. } p. 86. 

73 House Document No. 154, p. 130. 

74 Indianapolis Locomotive, September 29, 1860. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, l86o AND l86l 153 

dianapolis, citizens turned out by the thousands to cheer "Abe's 
Boys, the Rail Maulers, and the Wide-Awakes." 75 Columns 
marched to the flourish of trumpets and to the beat of drums. 
Vibrant symbolism, perhaps; yet this display afforded a strange 
premonition of the approaching tragedy of war. 

During the final days of the state campaign the battle was bit- 
terly waged. The Democrats, sensing the imminence of defeat, 
turned frantically to alarmist tactics. 76 Their battle cry was a 
variation of the theme that a Republican triumph meant the 
certain inauguration of the "irrepressible conflict." At best, the 
Democrats argued, this signified a peaceful disunion; at worst, 
it meant a bloody civil war for mastery in the Union. Neither 
alternative was a happy one. 

The majority of the Indiana electorate appeared unafraid. On 
October 9, the citizenry went to the polls and gave over their 
state administration to the Republicans by a substantial ma- 
jority. 77 Along with his ticket, Harrison was swept into office, 
with a majority of 9,688. A flood of congratulatory messages came 
rolling in to Ben and Carrie, and no joy was more unrestrained 
than that of the Harrison family. At The Point, however, there 
were mixed emotions. John Scott Harrison certainly cherished 
his son's success. He even despatched sister Anna to Indianapolis 
with a special message of "sincere congratulations on your suc- 
cess." 78 However, his own pride and spirit of integrity compelled 
him to add in a letter to Ben: 

Although I was opposed to the principles of your party, I mention 
. . . my having thus early sent forward my congratulations on the elec- 
tion of a more national man than Lincoln ... I have great faith that 
Providence will yet find for us some way of escape . . . and save our 
country from the scourge of a "higher law" President. 79 

75 Logan Esarey, A History of Indiana, II, 656-61. 

76 Stampp, op. cit., p. 46. 

77 Lane and the Republican ticket carried the state by nearly a 10,000 majority. 
Of the eleven Congressmen, the Republicans elected seven. The southern part of 
Indiana remained true to Democracy and returned four Representatives to Wash- 
ington. Indianapolis Daily Journal, October 12, 13, 14, 1860. 

78 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, October 15, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

79 There is some ambiguity in Scott Harrison's use of the term "higher law" here. 
It is quite probable, however, he is referring to Mr. Sewjard, whose famous state- 
ment that "there is a higher law than the Constitution which regulates our author- 
ity over the domain" branded him as a radical and unacceptable to the Chicago 
convention of 1860. Like many others, John Scott believed that, if Lincoln wer^ 
elected, Seward and his doctrine would dominate the administration. Hence + 


Although John Scott Harrison entertained the desire to visit 
Ben in Indianapolis during his hour of victory, his efforts to de- 
feat Lincoln during the remaining month of the presidential 
campaign kept him at home. 80 A planned family reunion at Ben's 
modest home was not canceled, but merely postponed. John Scott 
was a political die-hard, yet his sense of humor did not desert 
him. In a letter to Ben he quipped: 

When your enthusiastic Republicans subside a little . , . or when 
we turn the tables on you and become as enthusiastic over the elec- 
tion of John Bell, I will come out . . . and promise to be very forbear- 
ing towards you Republican gentlemen who crowed before you were 
out of the woods. 81 

If Indiana had reason to boast in October, the state was not 
alone. 82 November brought unrestrained joy. The Hoosier ma- 
jority for Lincoln surpassed by almost 15,000 votes the victory 
obtained by Harrison and the state ticket only a month before. 88 
The sweep of Indiana Republicanism for its presidential nomi- 
nee was thorough and complete. Not since 1840 had the Demo- 
crats lost the state in a national election; not until 1876 would 
they win it again. 84 

The state leaders of the victorious young party were soon in 
serious conference at Indianapolis. Victory, as they all under- 
stood, had to be used with propriety and discretion. Since a po- 
litical revolution had taken place within their commonwealth, 
Hoosier leaders believed that every effort must be made during 
the months previous to Lincoln's inauguration to give the lie to 

pious quod Deus avertat in writing to Ben. John Scott Harrison to Benjamin 
October 15, 1860, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

. . 

80/fcid. John Scott Harrison faithfully stumped Ohio and Kentucky for the Con- 
stitutional Unionists, Bell and Everett. He mentioned one such meeting to Ben: 
"I addressed a meeting of Union men at Carrollton, Ky., on Saturday last. I think 
there must have been three thousand people present " 

82 Important Republican victories in Pennsylvania and in Ohio presaged the 
election of Lincoln in November. See Stampp, op. cit. f p. 47; Luthin, op. cit. f pp. 

83 In Indiana, the official tabulation showed the following presidential vote- 
Lincoln 139,033; Douglas 115,509; Breckinridge 124894; and Bell 5,306. Indianap- 
olis Drily Journal, December 4, 1860. It is interesting to note that Hendricks and 
Turpie ran about lo ,ooo votes ahead of Douglas, while Lane, Morton and Harrison 
ran some 3,000 behind Lincoln. Esarey, op. cit., p. 661. 

84 Stampp, op. cit., p. 48. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, l86o AND l86l 155 

the South's warning that the latter's election would disrupt the 
Union. 85 

The action of the Hoosier statesmen was certainly timely and 
above all intimated to the defeated Democrats that they need 
have no fears of Republican radicalism. The situation through- 
out the nation, however, was otherwise. Two days after Lincoln's 
election, South Carolina felt herself yielding bit by bit to an ever- 
growing spirit of agitation and unrest. Mrs. Mary Chesnut re- 
corded in her diary the talk she heard on the streets of Charleston. 
It ran like this: "Now that the black radical Republicans have 
the power I suppose they will Brown us all." 86 On this sentiment 
the southern lady wrote: "No doubt of it." Within a month South 
Carolina was ready to leave the Union. On December 20, 1860, 
the state issued an ordinance of secession. To the Gulf States this 
was as a sign from heaven. Almost immediately they followed 
South Carolina's daring lead. 

Everyone knew that Abraham Lincoln had been elected on 
a platform that judged that all the material and spiritual wel- 
fare of the nation was directly attributable "to the union of the 
States." What the people did not know was the mind of Lincoln, 
but the South feared for the worst. They could not easily over- 
look the clause in the Republican platform: "We hold in abhor- 
rence all schemes for Disunion, come from whatever source they 
may." 87 

December, 1860, and January, 1861, were confused and dismal 
days. By February i, the South was far along the road to secession. 
Up North, in the meantime, there was much talk. Some Union- 
ists cheered, others blanched at the mere mention of Seward's 
doctrine of an "irrepressible conflict." Men of all parties looked 
hopefully to their political leaders for guidance and statesman- 
ship equal to the crisis. Too often they found neither. 88 Instead, 

85 Dwight L. Dumond, The Secessionist Movement (New York, 1931) and the 
same author's edited work, Southern Editorials on Secession (New York, 1931), give 
the best general treatment to this problem. 

86.4 Diary from Dixie, pp. xxii, i, cited by Randall, op. cit., p. 184. The entry 
for Nov. 8, 1860, was filled with phrases such as: "Look Out:-Lincoln is elected"; 
"The die is cast"; "The Stake is life or death." 

8T A summary of the Republican national platform is given in Wallace, op. cit 
p. 252- 

88 Stampp, op. cit., p. 49. 


they found politicians grouped together with the ideals and the 
motives of ordinary business men. A supreme interest in party 
advantage and in personal profit during this hour of growing 
emergency all too frequently obscured sound thinking. Perhaps 
bigoted partisanship and narrow self-interest loomed too large 
during these critical weeks, yet there was a feeling that the man 
in Springfield, Illinois, could assuage the fears of the South by 
a forthright declaration of friendliness. 89 A strange silence pre- 

Indiana, meanwhile, had sworn in her new state officers. On 
January 13, 1861, in the presence of retiring Governor Abram 
A. Hammond and of his own law partner, Will Wallace, Ben- 
jamin Harrison took the oath "to support the Constitution of the 
United States and the Constitution of the State of Indiana and 
faithfully discharge his duties as Reporter of the Supreme Court 
of the State of Indiana. 1 ' 00 The next day, Henry S. Lane took 
office as Governor. In his address to the Legislature he did little 
to alleviate Democratic forebodings. Rather, he branded the 
South and her sympathizers by solemnly stating: "The doctrine 
of secession ... is a dangerous heresy." 91 Events moved rapidly. 
Two days later, on January 16, according to plan, Lane was 
elected United States Senator, while Oliver Perry Morton be- 
came Governor. Then appeared at Indianapolis what to many 
seemed an ominous sign. 

80 Randall, op. cit., pp. 222-23, presents a highly critical picture of the "Sphinx 
from Springfield" and observes that "few Presidents have launched upon their 

tasks with prestige as slight as that of Abraham Lincoln In the East especially 

he was distrusted and regarded as inadequate to the crisis which confronted him 
. . . there were many who snobbishly dismissed him as a 'simple susan'." 

90 The original Commission, as signed by Gov. Hammond, and attested to by 
Will Wallace, Notary Public, is preserved under date of January 13, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 4. Harrison's commission was for a term of four years. 

i Martin, op. cit., p. 60. On this day John Scott Harrison wrote a very 
pessimistic letter to Ben: "papers are full of bad news. I think your Republican 
friends are assuming great responsibility. They talk of not treating with 
armed traitors . . . [but] we want to save Kentucky, Tennessee, North Caro- 
lina, Virginia, Maryland etc., etc., ... are these states not worth an effort? If we can 
save them, there is hope that the horrors of Civil War may be prevented." As Ran- 
dall, op. cit., p. 223, observes: "Many thought Lincoln would be President only in 
name, and that Seward would be the directing force in the new administration." 
On this point Scott Harrison wrote Ben that "Seward can save us if he will will he 
dp it? I confess I believe not. He has until now folded his senatorial robes about 
him with phaiisaical sanctity, as if his garments were unspotted and now that the 
conflagration is almost past subduing he proposes suggesting a remedy . . . away 
with such patriots." J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, January 14, 1861, Harrison MSS. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 157 

In view of the threatening attitude assumed by the Southern 
states it was deemed proper by the newly elected Hoosier Assem- 
bly to unfurl the American flag from the State House dome, and 
the ceremony was fixed for January 22, 1861. After an elaborate 
parade the flag began to be raised. Suddenly, the staff broke and 
with the flag tumbled down the dome to the roof. A feeling of 
shock and fear shot through the great crowd. Silently they dis- 
persed, deeming the event ominous of trouble. 92 

The ensuing month of February was one of mystery and ex- 
pectation. Lincoln was slowly making his way to Washington. In 
Indiana, Benjamin Harrison and his Hoosier contemporaries 
joined the rest of the country in keeping a close watch on the 
actions and the statements of the President-elect. Though each 
succeeding day made this pre-inaugural period one of intense 
indecision, 98 most of the American people hoped that Lincoln 
would break his long silence by dropping some clue to his con- 
templated policy. 

The grave problem of national disunity was catapulted by pub- 
lic discussion into the crisis stage. The people still looked to the 
new political incumbents for guidance. The Republicans, shortly 
to take over the presidency, were definitely on the spot. Either 
they would act, and act decisively, or else fall into disrepute. By 
mid-February, when Southern secession became a reality, most 
of recently elected Republicans began to take one of three posi- 
tions. Some took the view that secession might as well be acqui- 
esced in; others tried to find a satisfactory basis for compromise; 
the third and more numerous group insisted that secession was 
rebellion pure and simple, and as such could only be answered 
with military force. 94 

On this critical issue of secession and Northern reaction to it 
Benjamin Harrison stood with his party in Indiana, and there 
could be no mistaking that these men were prepared to take up 
arms to preserve the Union. As early as November 22, 1860, 
Oliver Perry Morton, party chieftain and now Governor, pointed 

92 Indianapolis Directory, 1868, pp. 7&-8o. 

93 For an excellent and scholarly treatment of this historical period between 
Lincoln's election and his inauguration see Wood Gray, The Hidden Civil War 
(New York, 1942), pp. 31-50. 


out in forceful language that compromise or acquiescence in dis- 
union would be fatal to American nationality. 95 It was known to 
every party member that compromise or acquiescence in secession 
"would almost certainly lead to the disruption and overthrow of 
the Republican Party." 96 Although these sentiments were enter- 
tained by local leaders like Morton and Harrison, this was not 
the important question in February, 1861. The universal con- 
cern was the secret locked in Lincoln's heart. With what group 
would he stand? What policy or plan was evolving within the 
secret recesses of his mind? In the hope of hearing some kind of 
answer from the lips of the one man who could reassure their 
anxious hearts, the people of Indianapolis, on February 1 1, 1861, 
awaited the personal appearance of the "strange man from Illi- 
nois." Even the more enthusiastic and optimistic of his followers 
felt that Lincoln would not condescend to break his pre-presi- 
dential silence, despite the fact that he owed so much, in a politi- 
cal sense, to Hoosier Republicans. 

His speeches to date along the route had been all too reserved, 
"colorless, if not actually trivial." 97 If Charles Francis Adams and 
his contemporaries distrusted Lincoln as "an absolutely unknown 
quantity . . . perambulating the country, kissing little girls and 
growing whiskers," 98 the crestfallen Democrats of Indianapolis 
were no less suspicious on the afternoon of his scheduled arrival 
in their city. The Democratic Daily Sentinel fanned the fires of 
distrust when it published an editorial entitled: "Mr. Lincoln's 
Visit to Indianapolis": 

Mr. Lincoln is a theorist, a dreamer, and perhaps, an enthusiast in 
his convictions. He is not a practical man, and for that reason will be 
deficient in those qualities necessary to wisely administer the govern- 
ment. He lacks will, purpose and a resolute determination to success. 
For those reasons Mr. Lincoln will be an uncertain man; and today, 
with a full knowledge of his views upon the present condition of our 
public affairs, it will be impossible to predict what his action will 

85 Foulke, op. cit., I, 86-96. Morton's keynote was struck in the following words: 
"We must then cling to the ideal that we are a nation, one and indivisible, and that 
although subdivided by state lines ... we are one people ... we must therefore do 
no act, we must tolerate no act, we must concede no idea or theory that looks to or 
involves the dismemberment of the nation" (p. 90). 

96 Gray, op. cit. f p. 37. 

8T Randall, op. cit., p. 222. 

88 Charles Francis Adams, Charles Francis Adams, 1835-1915; An Autobiography 
(New York, 1916), p. 82. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, i860 AND l86l 159 

be. At a time when it requires a man of nerve, will and purpose to 
administer the Government successfully, it is most unfortunate that 
the administration of our public affairs should be confided to such 

Benjamin Harrison, however, did not share this pessimistic 
view of the man whom political opponents delighted in taunt- 
ing as "the Sphinx from Springfield." To Indiana's new Supreme 
Court Reporter who had supported Lincoln's candidacy as ear- 
nestly as he had his own, the President-elect appeared as a "great 
simple hearted patriot." 100 He took an active part in preparing 
a warm welcome for the man who in little over a year would be 
his Commander-in-Chief in a prolonged war to preserve the 

The detailed arrangements for Lincoln's reception were com- 
pleted, and the right and left wings of the procession knew their 
precise movements a long time in advance. 101 The care taken by 
the committee on arrangements and the efforts of the Young Re- 
publicans to provide a fitting welcome for their national leader 
would not go unacknowledged. As Harrison later stated of Lin- 
coln, "he was not unappreciative of friendship, not without am- 
bition to be esteemed . . . whose overmastering and dominant 
life's thought was to be useful to his country and to his country- 
men." 102 

Toward evening, the Indiana capital was in readiness. Hotels 
and business houses spread their bunting, and the main streets 
were thronged. An excursion train of eight cars came in about 
half past four and stopped at the crossing selected for Lincoln's 
arrival and an old gentleman with a carpet sack in his hands got 

99 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, February is, 1861. The concluding sentence read: 
"In his present tour, the President-Elect will come into contact mostly, if not en- 
tirely, with office seekers, and he will have little opportunity to ascertain the true 
sentiment of the country upon the issues that threaten the dissolution of govern- 
ment." Seventy-five years later, Randall, op. cit., p. 223, would write: Lincoln's 
"preoccupation with hordes of office seekers to the neglect of weightier matters, his 
social awkwardness, his caution, interpreted as timidity, in approaching critical 
problems, his inexperience in the management of great affairs, all contributed to 
the unfavorable impression." 

100 Benjamin Harrison, Views of An Ex-President, p. 473. 

101 The Indianapolis Daily Journal for February 11, 1861, carried the full pro- 
gram for the reception. 

102 Harrison, op. cit., p. 473. Harrison spoke these words at the Lincoln Day Ban- 
quet of the Marquette Club, Chicago, February 12, 1898. 


out. The cry rose that he was Mr. Lincoln, and a rush and scram- 
ble was made for him. He enjoyed the joke, seemingly, but hur- 
ried on, elbowing his way with sturdy independence, and suc- 
ceeded in leading off several hundred noisy urchins as far as the 
Bates House. 103 

Finally, at five o'clock, the train carrying the President-elect 
and his suite arrived. Lincoln received the national salute of 
thirty-four guns, and the grand procession got under way. At 
Bates House, Governor Morton made a speech of welcome and 
introduced Lincoln to the people. The newly elected leader 
placed the question of preserving the Union in the hands of the 
people themselves: 

I appeal to you ... to constantly bear in mind that with you, and 
not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but 
with you is the question: Shall the Union and shall the Liberties of 
this country be preserved to the latest generations? 104 

Benjamin was in the audience, and has left his impressions of 
the moment: "it seemed to me hardly to be a glad crowd, and 
he not to be a glad man. There was no sense of culpability either 
in their hearts or in his; no faltering; no disposition to turn back, 
but the hour was shadowed with forebodings." 105 

Lincoln made a profound impression on Benjamin Harrison 
on that occasion. Thirty-eight years later, after Harrison himself 
had piloted the ship of state for four years, he could recall: 

Before us stood our chosen leader, the man who was to be our pilot 
through seas more stormy and through channels more perilous than 
ever the old ship went before. He had piloted the lumbering flat-boat 
on our western streams, but he was now to take the helm of the great 
ship. His experience in public office had been brief, and not con- 
spicuous. He had no general acquaintance with the people of the 
whole country. His large angular frame and face, his broad humor, 
his homely illustrations and simple ways, seemed to very many of his 
fellow-countrymen to portray a man and a mind that, while acute 
and powerful, had not that nice balance and touch of statecraft that 
the perilous way before us demanded. No college of arts had opened 

103 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, February is, 1861. 

104 The Claypool Hotel now stands on the site of the old Bates House. On the 
Washington Street side is a bronze memorial plaque bearing these words. 

105 Harrison, op. cit., p. 473. For a detailed and interesting account of this epi- 
sode see George S. Cottman, "Lincoln in Indianapolis," Indiana Magazine of His- 
tory, 24 (1928), 3 ff. 

THE CRITICAL YEARS, l86o AND l86l l6l 

to his struggling youth; he had been born in a cabin and reared 
among the unlettered. He was a rail-splitter, a flatboatman, a country 
lawyer. . . . The course before him was lighted only by the lamp of 
duty; outside its radiance all was dark. He seemed to me to be con- 
scious of all this, to be weighted by it, but so strong was his sense of 
duty, so courageous his heart, so sure was he of his own high purposes 
and motives and of the favor of God for himself and his people, that 
he moved forward calmly to his appointed work; not with show and 
brag, neither with shrinking. 106 

The next day, Lincoln resumed his slow journey to Washing- 
ton and Harrison continued in his duties as Reporter of the In- 
diana Supreme Court decisions. He tried, also, to maintain his 
law practice. This double burden meant long work hours during 
the day and, more frequently than not, hours borrowed from the 
night. More and more, Ben found that the law was a jealous mis- 
tress. Though he could spend but little time with Carrie and the 
two children, he took consolation in the knowledge that his work 
was for them and for the new home he hoped soon to give them. 
To make this possible he busied himself with texts, indices, syl- 
labi and clients. 

February and March passed without incident. Lincoln now 
held the reins of government. An expectant attitude on both 
sides had been maintained. Although conflicting declarations had 
been made, at least the evil day when declaration must be trans- 
lated into violent action was delayed. By April 12, Harrison 
found that he had collected enough material to publish his vol- 
ume of reports. The better to secure himself from interruption 
while making the index to the volume, he took refuge in a base- 
ment room of the old First Presbyterian Church on the Gover- 
nor's Circle. Here he was when the news of the firing on Fort 
Sumter was brought to him. 107 

106 Harrison, op. cit., pp. 473-75. 

107 Wallace, op. cit., pp. 86-57. 


The Call to Arms 

MONE PRESENT in Indianapolis upon that fateful Friday 
raning of April 12, 1861, ever forgot the telegraphic 
espatch which announced that the Charleston batteries 
had opened fire on Fort Sumter. By morning, all the citizens had 
been alerted by the alarming news of what certainly meant civil 

Through the long Saturday that followed, business was at a stand. 
. . . The streets were black with breathless multitudes awaiting the 
tidings of the seventy loyal men in an unfurnished fort, bombarded 
by ten thousand raging rebels. At ten o'clock a despatch was an- 
nounced, "Sumter has fallen/' 1 

By late evening the spirit of war pervaded the hearts of young 
and old alike. Excitement gi ew as flags waved and patriotic music 
sounded. 2 The young men of Harrison's age took their cue "from 
the wet eyes of old and venerated citizens/' 8 Into their young and 
eager hands was falling a trust, the sacred trust of fighting to pre- 
serve the Union. 

This was Harrison's difficult hour. In early manhood, still two 
years shy of thirty, the fighting blood of his fighting grandfather 
raced through his veins. The immediate urge to take up arms was 

1 W. D. Foulke, O. P. Morton, 1, 1 14. 

2 J. P. Dunn, Indiana and Indianans. Chapter 21 of the first volume was contrib- 
uted by John H. Holiday, a resident of Indianapolis during the Civil War. Soon 
after the war, Holliday founded the Indianapolis News, of which for many years he 
was the editor. Jacob Piatt Dunn claims that Holliday's "personal familiarity with 
the subject, coupled with extensive research given in preparation of this article, 
make it a contribution to local history especially worthy of preservation." Actually, 
Holliday published this work under his own name in 1911 as Vol. 4, No. o, of the 
Indiana Historical Society Publications. 

a Foulke, op. cit., 1, 114. 


o ^ 
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terribly pressing. Momentarily, he hesitated. Could he, in all 
fairness, leave Carrie and the two children? What would be the 
better thing? Tomorrow was Sunday, and perhaps in the peace 
and quiet of the sanctuary a right decision could be made. Ordi- 
narily, this active Presbyterian elder would have found the wor- 
ship hour a splendid opportunity to ponder his future in the war 
at hand. 

It was useless, however, for the day was "as complete an ob- 
literation of Sunday" 4 as Indianapolis had ever seen. From every 
pulpit the preachers rallied Christians to the support of their 
country's cause. 5 Following the religious sen-ices two immense 
mass meetings were held, and resolutions were passed, pledging 
to the government "the lives, the fortunes and the sacred honor 
of the people of Indiana, in whatever capacity and at whatever 
time the country might require them." 6 Under these conditions, 
certainly, the possibility of his making a dispassionate decision 
seemed all the more remote. 

In the days that followed, Hoosierdom mobilized for war. 7 In 
response to Lincoln's call for 75,000 men for three months, In- 
diana volunteers soon began to pour into the capital by train, on 
horseback, and on foot. Practically every activity other than prep- 
aration for war was brought to a pause. 

Responsibility always rested heavily upon Harrison's shoul- 
ders, and, after Sumter fell, his ultimate decision to remain at 
Indianapolis severely taxed his discretionary powers. Consider- 
ing himself a prominent member of the political party that 
"talked of not treating with armed traitors," 8 he sensed an addi- 
tional obligation to exercise his patriotic virtue on the field of 
battle with the same vigor as he had on the political rostrum. 
Although he had kept his silent counsel during those torturing 
days of waiting, prior to the bombardment in South Carolina, 

* Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel and Daily Journal, April 15, 2861. 

5 Kenneth Stampp, Indiana Politics during the Civil War, p. 71. Also Foulke, 
op. cit., p. 115: "The country's cause was the theme at the churches; it was in the 
prayers, in the sermons and in the songs." 

6 Foulke, op. cit., p. 115. 

7 Stampp, op. cit., p. 73, notes: "for the present at least the episode at Fort Sum- 
ter had cleared the air and brought unity to Indiana and to the Republican party 
indeed, unity out of disunion." 

8 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, January 14, 1861, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


this silence was in no way indicative of a lack of interest or of 
a policy of salutary neglect. Two months before Sumter's sur- 
render, Harrison's father had remarked: 

You say but little of politics, and yet I know you feel a deep interest 
in the result of the present crisis. Bearing as you do the name of one 
of the founders of the Republic, you must hope and pray for its per- 
petuity I confess to you I can scarcely see a single star in this night 

of gloom. 

Frequent parades, the roar of cannon and the bluster of martial 
music 10 did not render his decision to remain at home any more 
easy. Only the two-pronged consideration of his material welfare 
and of his manifold domestic obligations snapped his dream of 
military glory. The sober reality Harrison faced in mid-April, 
1861, deterred him from offering to Governor Morton his serv- 
ices as a volunteer. His responsibility was by no means confined 
to the support of Carrie and the two children Russell nearly 
seven and Mamie just turned three. A third child was expected; 
when Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers, Carrie was in 
the seventh month of her pregnancy. Harrison also had to reckon 
with two more dependents in his growing household. His younger 
brother, John, lived w r ith the family while attending an Indian- 
apolis school, 11 and Harry Eaton, a nephew from Cincinnati, in- 
creased the family circle to six. 12 Had charity and kindnesses to 
his family ceased here, perhaps no serious inroads would have 
been made upon Benjamin's financial resources. This was not 
the case, however, for his meticulously kept expense account re- 
veals cash loans and outright gifts to his brother Carter and to 
his sister Jennie. 13 

Under these circumstances Harrison chose the more practical 
course. He returned to his law office and resumed his duties as 

9 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, February 7, 1861, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

10 Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel, April 17, 23, 27, 1861. 

11 John Scott Karrison to Benjamin, January 14, 1861, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

12 Harry Eaton was sister Betty's boy. Perhaps Ben was repaying his own debt of 
gratitude for lodging and keep with the Batons during his days of legal study in the 
Queen City. See Betty Eaton to Benjamin Harrison, February 6, 1861: "Thanks for 
asking Harry to come and live with you. I take great pleasure in knowing he will 
share with \our own little ones your kindness." Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

13 Almost excessive charity within the family circle was one of Ben's strong 
points all his life. Often, it was practiced at a great sacrifice to himself and his own 
family. "Personal Notes and Bills for 1860-1862," Harrison MSS. 


Supreme Court Reporter. Despite a consistently good income 
from his partnership in the Wallace and Harrison law firm, and 
the prospect of increased revenues from his lucrative post as Re- 
porter, 14 he still found it difficult to make ends meet. Conse- 
quently, he continued to borrow money from his life-long friend, 
Albert Gallatin Porter, a man destined to be Governor of Indiana 
from 1881 to 1885 and minister to Italy during Harrison's ad- 
ministration as President. At this time, the young lawyer was 
indebted to Porter for almost three thousand dollars and was 
paying a semi-annual interest on his note that fell just short of 
one hundred dollars. 15 

Harrison deemed that his place was in Indianapolis where he 
could satisfy his civil and domestic obligations. Yet, love of coun- 
try engrossed him and he was hard pressed in abiding by his de- 
cision. Fortunately, however, Indiana was soon ready to place 
some 12,000 troops in the lines, and this number was more than 
double the quota assigned the state by Lincoln's directive. 16 Har- 
rison gained no little consolation from the knowledge that In- 
diana was first among the states to fill the volunteer quota. Con- 
sequently, when Governor Morton offered to oversubscribe, 17 it 
was time to forget his initial disappointment at being left behind. 
It would be important for him to execute his professional and 
civil duties with a clear mind and an undivided heart. 

Harrison gave himself to his work a bit too conscientiously. 
Long hours, it is true, increased the family treasury, but the 
physical strain soon began to tell. This oversteady application to 
work, a habit formed in college and developed in Storer's law 
office, effected a perceptible change in Benjamin's manner. He 
had little time to devote to his wife and children*. Though Car- 
rie maintained an understanding silence, one wonders if she did 

i* Benjamin Harrison's Ledger for 1854 to 1867 (Ac. *6g8 Add. 8) Harrison MSS, 
indicates that he had many suits in the Marion County Common Pleas Court dur- 
ing 1861. 

15 Among Harrison's "Notes and Bills" for 1859 is the following item: "Indian- 
apolis, Indiana, August 30, 1859 ... Received of Benjamin Harrison, Esq., $88.50 
in full for the first half year's interest on his notes for $2,950 to me. A. G. Porter." 
Harrison MSS. 

is David Stevenson and Theodore Scribner, Indiana's Roll of Honor (Indianap- 
olis, 1864, 1866), I, 20. For a more colorful account see Irving McKee, "Ben-Hur" 
Wallace (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1947), pp. 31-46. 

17 Kenneth P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General (New York, 1949), I, 60-62. 


not share the sadness of Mary Owens, who said of Lincoln that 
"he was deficient in those little links which make up the great 
chain of woman's happiness." 13 It was not long, however, before 
John Scott Harrison was apprised of his son's overindulgence in 
work. Almost immediately a letter issued from The Point: "You 
must take care that you do not overtax yourself ... for what is 
wealth and honor without health?" Had John Scott concluded 
his paternal exhortation there, it would have been nothing more 
than a routine admonition. In his shrewdness, however, and from 
the intimate knowledge he possessed of his son, he added a para- 
graph, the wisdom of which the younger and immature man 
learned to appreciate only after three years' absence in the army: 

I have thought that a professional man when he leaves his office in 
the evening should leave the study and care behind him and direct 
his energies to the enjoyment of his family and innocent social pleas- 
ure. I do not know, however, that this is always practicable, and yet 
as far as possible I think it ought to be observed . . . too much care 
and study is apt to make a man unsocial and morose . . . and profes- 
sional men should remember that their families have claims upon 
them as well as their clients or patients. 19 

The overworked lawyer seems to have accepted the gentle 
warning with a gracious determination to strike a happy balance 
between work and play. He attempted to make time in which to 
enjoy the comforts of home after working hours, yet he himself 
would have been the first to admit that his efforts were none too 
successful. The time-consuming labors of his Supreme Court task, 
added to the strenuous demands of his regular practice, seemed 
to deprive him completely of the normal hours for leisurely liv- 
ing. His root fault stemmed from an excess of virtue, for Ben- 
jamin Harrison in his reading and study was a very miser of time, 
never wasting a moment. 

He had discovered that a Supreme Court Reporter was a com- 

18 David Donald, Lincoln's Herndon (New York, 1948), p. 188. 

19 John Scott Harrison was not too harsh on his son. The father added in the 
next sentence: "I am grateful to learn of the confidence reposed in you by the 
Church. He who wears worthily the honors of the Church of Christ, cannot fail to 
be the worthy recipient of the honors of his country . . . would to God that more of 
our office holders were God-fearing men." J. S. Harrison to Benjamin, February 7, 
1861, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. It is well to bear in mind that Ben's duties as a Presby- 
terian elder were not slight. See Centennial Memorial of The First Presbyterian 
Church (Indianapolis, 1925), p. 129. 


bination of civil servant and private business man. Although 
keeping and editing the detailed records of court trials and judi- 
cial decisions necessarily entailed long hours of solitary work, the 
undertaking carried its own reward. Harrison the civil servant 
recorded and published the decisions, while Harrison the private 
business man found a ready market for the sale of his work in 
bound volumes. State officials, including the Governor, leading 
members of the Indiana bar, and various state institutions were 
eager and certain customers. The price averaged around $4.50 
per volume, and the ultimate personal gain was no trifling sum. 
He was honest enough to reveal the ambition motivating his 
labors. "I hope to make out of this office . . . enough to pay for 
my house and lot." 20 Yet the question he raised in his own mind 
was whether the sacrifice and effort were really worth the guar- 
anteed income. This daily preoccupation was a grind from which 
both he and Carrie suffered many inconveniences, though his 
wife was quite willing to make the sacrifice for a home they could 
call their own. Regret did not take hold until Harrison had en- 
tered the army and was separated from his wife well over six 
months. Then he yearned for reunion with her in order to "ap- 
preciate the unselfish and confiding love you have manifested for 
me." He proceeded to make a conscience-cleansing confession: 

I now see so many faults in my domestic life that I long for an op 
portunity to correct. I know I could make your life so much happier 
than ever before . . . what need we care for earthly riches, if we can 
only be rich in the love of God and each other. 21 

Before the Civil War was three months old, a black cloud of 
personal sorrow temporarily engulfed the Harrison home. Carrie 
lost at birth the child whom she and Ben awaited as their "third 
pet." 23 Their sorrow was intense and prolonged despite the many 
consoling messages of sympathy that poured in from relatives and 
friends. Yet, the rare beauty and warmth of the condolences ex- 
pressed by John Scott Harrison, who knew this type of sorrow 
only too well and too frequently, certainly revived their spirits: 

20 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, August 23, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, Nos. 

21 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, November 30, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 
No. 748. 

22 On June 13, 1861, Ben noted his expense for a child's coffin and box for the 
grave, amounting to $10.50. 


I hear with sorrow the loss and disappointment you sustained in 
the death of your little babe but few will doubt that your loss has 
been her infinite gain. She has exchanged a world of sin for one of 
purity and bliss. . . . 

You have lost a little one, too young to know and love you . . . but 
God in his mercy is sparing to you two bright and intelligent children 
who have learned to do this . . . and you should, and do feel grateful 
that He has been disposed to withhold what would have been still a 
more bitter cup. Such afflictions fall more heavily upon the bereaved 
mother . . . and Carrie has our sincere sympathy. . . . M 

Early in June, however, came the event that served, at least 
partially, to lift the Harrisons from the doldrums. It was the 
startling report that the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers, 24 under 
the command of Colonel Lew Wallace, 25 had made an effective 
raid upon Romney, Virginia, forty-six miles southwest of Cum- 
berland, Maryland. This news of a Confederate retreat was more 
than timely, for, after two months of uneventful war, the Indian- 
apolis public was starved for news of action. Up to this moment, 
neither citizens nor soldiers had much to cheer about. The Elev- 
enth had merely been at Evansville, Indiana, policing the Ohio 
River instead of winning glory on the field of battle. Now came 
the report that Hoosier troops had marched over the mountains 
and had won no mean skirmish. 26 

While they contributed to the spontaneous applause that 
greeted this news of the rebel retreat, Ben and Carrie took a 
personal joy and delight in the Eleventh's success. Each had a 
brother in this regiment, Lieutenant Irwin Harrison and Private 
Henry Scott, each of whom had enlisted for three months. Ben 

23 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, June 25, 1861, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 4. 

24 Called the Eleventh Regiment because the units began with the Sixth, follow- 
ing the Mexican War's Fifth. 

25 Wallace first took over the state's Adjutant General's office and, when Indiana's 
quota was more than met, resigned his office to become a colonel. Lew Wallace was 
the brother of Harrison's law partner, Will Wallace, and the entire Wallace family 
had been intimate with the Harrisons since the territorial days under Governor 
William Henry Harrison. 

28 The military importance of this small event is vividly described by Williams, 
op. cit. t I, 70-73, as "a good example of the unexpected repercussion that a small 
e\ent can have"; he remarked that "nothing Stonewall Jackson's famous 'foot- 
cavalry' ever did was much better than that." As Irving McKee, Lew Wallace's 
biographer points out, the Eleventh was credited with frightening Joe Johnston 
from Harper's Ferry and with the reopening of the Baltimore and Ohio to Union 
traffic (op. cit., pp. 37-^8). 


yielded readily to his brother's almost immediate request for "a 
pair of Captain's shoulder straps." 27 Of his brother-in-law, Henry 
Scott, he inquired about his "chance of promotion of any kind" 
and suggested that Lew Wallace might have some position "in 
his gift." 25 

Judging from his correspondence, it is quite evident that Ben 
had taken a keen and fraternal interest in Henry Scott's welfare. 
Shortly before the outbreak of the war, Henry had come to make 
his home with the Harrisons, and by the head of the family he 
had been treated more like a brother by blood than by marriage. 
In short order, he had begun to read law with Wallace and Har- 
rison, supported by the remunerative duties of a Notary Public. 29 
\Vhen Will Wallace was nominated for the Clerkship of Marion 
County and was necessarily absent from the office a great deal, 
Ben Harrison relied more and more on the ability and services 
of Henry Scott. When he had marched away with the Eleventh 
Indiana in early May, he was sorely missed at the office. Toward 
the end of his term of enlistment, the question of signing up for 
three more years had been raised. His sister Carrie was definitely 
against it, and, although work-weary and distressed at the thought 
of being deprived of his valuable services for so long a period, 
Ben penned to Henry one of his characteristically deliberate let- 

Carrie tells me she has urged it upon you very strongly not to enter 
for the three years service, upon the ground that I needed you at 
home. I need not say that you were more useful to me than anyone I 
have ever had in the office and about home, but notwithstanding all 
this, I would not have you to do anything you might esteem a re- 
proach on any such account. 30 

It would not have been typical of Harrison to conclude his 
message with so brief and simple a statement of the problem. As 

27jrwin Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, June 24, 1861, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4: 
"You promised me while a Lieutenant to give me a pair of shoulder straps," Irwin 
wrote, "I will now accept them, and you will please send me a pair of Captain's 
straps . . . direct your letter to Capt. A. I. Harrison. . . ." 

23 Benjamin Harrison to Henry M. Scott, June 3, 1861, Harrison MSS (Harrison 
Memorial Home, Indianapolis). 

29 Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook Series, Vol. i f p. 13, Harrison MSS. 

so Benjamin Harrison to Henry M. Scott, June 3, 1861, Harrison MSS (Indian- 
apolis). This letter was discovered hidden in Harrison's old desk. 


he had felt constrained to express his views on the re-enlistment 
problem that faced Lincoln and the Northern soldiers, he added: 

It might be that many a man entered for 3 mos. service, whose 
circumstances were such that he could not enter for 3 years. We are 
all governed a good deal by the question "What will people say or 
think?'* I do not know what I should do under similar circumstances. 
It is a question for you, but in determining it, do not suffer any con- 
sideration for my supposed convenience to influence you one way or 
the other ... I shall get along very well and should you return (which 
God grant you may), whether it be after three months or three years, 
you will find a place for you in my family and in my office. 81 

The concluding paragraphs of this long letter were charged 
with concern for Henry's moral welfare. The young soldier was 
warned to "avoid with more care the vices of the camp than you 
would the enemy's bullets . . . they are more deadly ---- By your 
priceless and immortal soul, let not the ribaldry of companions 
keep you from Scripture reading and prayers." 82 

Eventually, however, neither patriotism nor human respect 
were determining factors in Henry Scott's decision to leave mili- 
tary service at the end of three months. Under constant drill and 
the other rigors of army life, his health broke badly. Strangely 
enough, just about the time John Scott Harrison was writing to 
Indianapolis on his fears that "this hot weather will kill more of 
our men in camp than the balls of the enemy in the field," 88 
young Henry Scott, a sick man, was entraining for Indianapolis. 
True to his promise, Ben gave young Henry a warm welcome to 
the family circle. Through Carrie's special care the ex-soldier was 
soon restored to tolerable health, and before September was far 
spent he was back in the office rendering able assistance to the law 

Henry Scott's return was a stroke of good fortune for Harrison, 
who was complaining that Will Wallace was unable to pull his 
half of the legal load. He used to refer to Wallace, the Republican 
candidate for Clerk of Marion County, as the man who had not 

82 Ben's concern for Scott's spiritual welfare was deep. "I hope you have not for- 
gotten to remember your Creator in the camp ____ I hope to have you returned to 
us not only safe in body but with a soul unscarred with sin. You have our daily 
prayers that God would make you his own and keep your heart in innocence." Ibid. 

88 Tohn Scott Harrison tn Rmisunni- Anonm o iftfit Homc/^ M"CC ir^i > 

done a lick of work since his nomination, and bitingly added 
"nor for some months before." 34 Henry Scott's presence tempo- 
rarily filled the breach, but with Wallace's success at the polls in 
November, the law firm of Wallace and Harrison hastened to the 
brink of dissolution. Finally, in December, 1861, with mutual 
good feeling, the six-year partnership was terminated. Both men 
had taken long and successful strides down the highway of law 
and politics. 

Less than two weeks had passed before Benjamin Harrison had 
associated himself in his second important legal venture. William 
Pinkney Fishback, a rather polished speaker and quick-witted In- 
dianapolis attorney, was glad to accept second place in the new 
firm. 35 On December 1 1, 1861, they hung out their newly painted 
Harrison and Fishback shingle at 62 E. Washington Street. 30 
Henry Scott soon took space with them and, though not yet quali- 
fied to affiliate as a third member in the firm, performed valuable 
service as a Notary Public. This new combination of legal talent 
was extremely friendly. "Pink" Fishback, as he was known, was 
the scourge of everything lazy, and he fitted in perfectly with Har- 
rison's capacity for work. He had known Ben intimately from 
their school days, when Harrison evidently had created a very 
fine first impression by his ready eloquence: 

I remember his facility in extemporaneous speech amazed me . * . a 
faculty which he has improved wonderfully. In all my knowledge of 
him I never knew him to trip in a sentence. He seemed to see about 
two well-rounded sentences ahead of him all the time. 87 

34 Benjamin Harrison to Henry Scott, June 3, 1861, Harrison MSS (Indianapolis). 

35 Fishback was late of Conner and Fishback, recognized attorneys in the city, 
and had seen Harrison in action on several occasions. Fishback declared that "of all 
the men I have known in professional life, Ben Harrison is the most diligent, pains- 
taking and thorough/' Wallace, op. tit., p. 174. 

36 This new office of Harrison and Fishback was located over Munson and 
Johnson's store. The new partnership was widely advertised. Indianapolis Daily 
Journal, January i, 1869. 

87 Lew Wallace, Life of Gen. Ben Harrison, p. 173, cites a letter he received from 
W. P. Fishback, under date of July 13, 1888, wherein Fishback places his first meet- 
ing with Harrison at Miami in 1850. A thorough search of the Alumni and Former 
Student Catalogue of Miami University, 1800-1802 (Oxford, Ohio, 1892) yields no 
evidence of Fishback's presence at the institution. Internal evidence based on 
Fishback's letters and other statements in the press indicate a dose association with 
Harrison during his days at Oxford. 


Harrison had come a long way since his first law partnership 
in 1855. Now he was widely known in every county of the state. 
His apprehension was quick and sure, but his genius lay in ap- 
plication and a determination to master every question which 
came before him. Not content merely with painstaking work on 
briefs, he enjoyed the contests of the courtroom. Six years of 
practice had contributed no little to Harrison's maturity along 
legal lines. Just before they disbanded, Wallace was asked: "What 
impression did Harrison make among lawyers?" From the reply 
it is not difficult to understand Fishback's satisfaction in associat- 
ing himself with Harrison, whom Wallace characterized as pos- 

. . . admirable qualities as a lawyer . . . quick of apprehension, dear, 
methodical and logical in his analysis and statement of any case. He 
possessed a natural faculty of getting the exact truth of a witness 
either by direct or cross-examination. In this respect he has but few 
equals Always exacting from Courts and Jurys their closest atten- 
tion and interest in the cause . . . when . . . demanded . . . illustrating 
the rarest powers of the genius orator. He is a hard worker, giving to 
every case the best of his skill and labor, so that he never went unpre- 
pared, trusting to good luck, the want of skill, or the negligence of the 
other side. 38 

Another factor that considerably brightened the prospects was 
Harrison's own growing reputation within the Republican Party. 
He had climbed several rungs of the ladder of political popular- 
ity and influence, said reports that reached his father back on the 
Ohio farm. John Scott Harrison, who still occasionally scoffed 
at the Republican party and advised his son against too close a 
connection with politics and politicians, now wrote in a some- 
what different strain: 

. . . you have a more influential position in your own party than per- 
haps you are aware 1 heard a wealthy merchant of Lawrenceburg 

say not long since that he regarded you the strongest and most influ- 
ential man of your age in the state . . . that ... is of course known to 
the powers at Washington. 89 

88 Indianapolis Journal, June 30, 1888. 
^ 59 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, July 10, 1861, Harrison MSS, 


By reliability rather than any striking talents or political con- 
nections, Harrison lifted his firm to the front rank among In- 
dianapolis law offices. Business men liked him because he was 
instinctively conservative in his advice, and because he devoted 
untiring attention to their cases. An example of the confidence 
he enjoyed with men of business was afforded by James L. Hill 8: 
Co., insurance dealers of Springfield, Illinois. The company had 
a particularly obnoxious debtor, picturesquely described as a 
"slippery dog, wide awake and will need very close watching/' 40 
The actual business of collecting the company's claim was en- 
trusted to Harrison with a show of confidence that speaks for 
itself: "If you see any chance, please do with the claim as if it 
were your own. I have entire confidence in you . . . shall rely en- 
tirely upon your sagacity." 41 

The increased volume of business that fell to the new law firm 
enabled Harrison to realize a greater income than he had antici- 
pated, although he had been relying confidently on the profits 
from the publication of Volumes 15 and 16 of the Indiana Re- 
ports. 42 Consequently, he felt himself in a position to make a 
new investment, and the need that stood highest on the Harri- 
son list was a new home. 43 Good fortune, in the person of Albeit 
Gallatin Porter, gave more than a gentle knock at the door. Ben 
and Carrie were very alert to what they considered a grand op- 
portunity. Porter, their friend and creditor, unexpectedly came 
into the possession of some property and was anxious to dispose 
of it. Since he was aware that the Harrisons had put up with 
crowded quarters for a long period, Porter proposed to sell them 

40 James L. Hill & Co. to Benjamin Harrison, Esq., November 5, 1861, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 4. Evidence is also given that Harrison was not slow to use his famous 
name as a recommendation and a guarantee of integrity. 

41 Ibid. From Harrison's handwritten notation on this letter we know that the 
claim was collected and the case disposed of much to the satisfaction of the Hill Co. 

42 Testimony of John Caven, the man Harrison appointed as his deputy in the 
Office of Supreme Court Reporter after he himself entered service. An unidentified 
newspaper clipping in B. Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 52, p. 94, Harrison MSS. 

43 Concern over these crowded living conditions was frequently expressed by 
John Scott Harrison, especially when it came to boarding young Johnny during his 
schooling days. John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, December 26, 1861, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 4, writes: "But I am unwilling to impose too much of a burden upon you. 

Your family is large, perhaps too large for your comfort I have therefore to ask 

that if John is in any way of your family convenience and comfort in the least 
degree you will provide him some cheap but respectable boarding house." 


both house and property, allowing cash payments on time. Fur- 
ther than this, he gave Harrison the advantage of extending his 
previous notes as long as he desired. 44 

The property was located on the southeast corner of Alabama 
and North Streets, and the house, though somewhat remodeled, 
was a good example of old-style architecture. It was a frame build- 
ing two stories high, with small upstairs windows, common in 
residences at that time. An old stable, set back on the alley of 
the same lot, was a welcome part of the purchase that was made 
almost immediately. Moving-in day was a happy occasion. 

As might be expected, the pleasure and enjoyment of a new 
home also entailed some sacrifices, mostly financial. On this ac- 
count, Harrison soon made himself the scapegoat. He felt con- 
strained to work twice as hard in order to meet his newly in- 
curred financial obligations. Fishback noticed how heavily his 
partner carried his new responsibility: 

During the time I was his partner he worked like a slave. He was 
Reporter of the Supreme Court and prepared the "syllabuses" or 
"syllabi," as the case may be, at his home at night He was working 
to pay for his house, and came near wrecking his health by over 
work. 45 

While Benjamin Harrison was wrestling more or less success- 
fully with his many problems throughout 1861 and the early 
weeks of 1862, the nation was not faring so well. After absorbing 
the initial shocks of the civil war, the people grew more and 
more accustomed to marching troops and blaring bands. Actually 
the Northern war feeling that ran so high after Sumter's surren- 
der and was intensified by the Union reverse at Bull Run 46 had 
slackened perceptibly during the waning days of 1861. Perhaps 
at Indianapolis, Harrison was not fully aware of the Eastern 

** Mr. Porter fame into the possession of the property through some kind of 
trade and was glad to sell to Harrison. "He said he would sell it on time and give 
him as long as he wanted to pay so the property was purchased for something 
like one thousand dollars . . . Harrison making two payments on it before he went 
to war and the rest afterwards." Indianapolis Journal, July i, 1888. 

45 Wallace, op. cit. r p. 174. 

46 Wood Gray, The Hidden Cwil War, pp. 52-60: "The reverse at Bull Run 
seemed only to intensify the unity and determination of the section and led to 

demands for a more vigorous and ruthless prosecution of the war the defeat of 

our army has created another Fort Sumter rising of the people in their might," 
reported an observer. 


trend toward dissatisfaction, for on December i f 1861, the re- 
port of the Secretary of War showed that volunteering in the 
Midwest had far outstripped that of the rest of the nation. 47 In- 
diana could hold her head high. With a population only slightly 
larger than that of Massachusetts, the Hoosier state had raised 
twice as many men for the war. As far as Harrison could see, all 
seemed well as long as partisanship was subordinated to the war 

But this era of harmony did not last, and this was painfully 
true in Indiana. The Democratic party was being successfully re- 
generated, particularly by press campaigns, and soon stood as a 
group of sturdy opponents to the war. Indianapolis was the scene 
of a bitter press duel between the Republican-sponsored Journal 
and the Democratic-edited Sentinel. The evils of actual violence 
and the threats of violence against lukewarm supporters of the 
war were argued editorially. The subject of personal rights, vio- 
lated in the practice of arbitrary arrests, also was hotly discussed. 48 
This, Harrison could see with his own eyes, but there were nu- 
merous other indications sufficient to convince even the most 
optimistic souls that the war temperature, by the end of 1861, 
had reached an astonishing low. 

President Lincoln, in early 1862, was continuing his search for 
a general. McClellan's sustained inactivity afforded no grounds 
for satisfaction. Actually, it was the source of much distrust in 
official circles at Washington. 49 Unless decisive victories should 
be won, there was more than a likely chance that foreign inter- 
vention and internal lethargy would combine to make the civil 
war a hopeless contest for the Union. 

This was the gloomy and complex picture as Benjamin Har- 
rison saw it on New Year's Day, 1862. Three days later, his father, 
ever imbued with a healthy skepticism of Republicans in general 
and of Lincoln in particular, wrote with his usual candor: 

*7 The states of this section furnished nearly three-fourths as many troops as the 
rest of the North combined. War of Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and 
Confederate Armies, Series 3, 1, 698-708; hereinafter abbreviated as Official Records. 
Gray, op. cit. r p. 62, also points out: "Ohio alone, with Illinois not far behind, had 
provided more troops than all New England." 

48 For one of the most satisfying treatments of this constitutional phase of the 
civil war controversy see James G. Randall's Constitutional Problems under Lincoln 
TNew York, 1926) and his later work, The Ciiil War and Reconstruction, especially 
pp. 382-404. 

Williams, op. cit., 1, 147-49. 


Our affairs of a public nature look to me very dark. I have long 
since utterly despaired of the country. We have no man suited to the 
emergency. Greatness has departed from both the American farm and 
camp. One arm alone can save us. ... I fear that arm will not be out- 
stretched until we have emerged from such an ordeal as no nation has 
ever been called to pass for its purification. . . . "Good Lord, deliver 
us," should be the prayer of all our people. 50 

Harrison was willing to concede the seriousness of the situa- 
tion, but from his vantage point in Indianapolis the clouds were 
not so black and threatening. As a matter of fact, several signs 
seemed to augur swift success for the Union armies. Widespread 
dejection and impatience were quickly dispelled by the forward 
movement in the spring of 1862. Early in February, Grant's dra- 
matic capture of Forts Henry and Donelson served to open the 
Mississippi as far as Vicksburg and, followed shortly by Farragut's 
taking of New Orleans and success in Missouri, revived the hopes 
of an early Northern victory. 51 To Indianans the "bloody bat- 
tle of Shiloh, and the occupation of Memphis and Corinth ap- 
peared indicative of the imminent collapse of the Confederacy." 52 
Throughout the North much was expected of General McClel- 
lan, who had drilled and organized his troops until they were, 
according to his report, "wild with delight & egear [sic] to try 
their own hand in the fight/' 53 

"Little Mac," the man who had written derisively about the 
regiment which he had found "cowering on the banks of the 
Potomac" 54 after the battle of Bull Run, was purportedly ready. 
All he needed was good weather, for he promised that "when the 
roads were better, this army will move on to the South and vic- 
tory." 55 These were encouraging words, and Northern minds 
were infected with confidence. One cannot blame Harrison and 
his friends for brushing aside any doubt concerning the immedi- 
ate success of the Northern cause, for so confident was the Wash- 
ington government that it had fielded an army sufficiently large 

00 John Scott Harrison to Benjamin, January 4, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

51 Gray, op. rit. t pp. 78 ff. 

ca Stampp, op. dt. t p. 133. Even southern Indiana, predominantly pro-Southern 
in sxmpathy, "grew more optimistic, and business revived with the expectation that 
the Mississippi would soon be open again to western commerce.'* Indianapolis 
Daily Journal, February 17, 18, April 10, May i, June 14, i86a. 

fi3 Gray, op. cit ., p. 78. 

04 Williams, op. cit., I, 241. 

S3 Gray, op. cit. f p. 78. 


to crush the rebellion that in April, 1862, the War Department 
stopped recruiting. 5 ** 1 

With the advent of summer, 1862, this bubble of early con- 
fidence burst, and a wave of disappointment and disillusionment 
swept the country. Want of a determined policy threatened to 
dash every previous hope of victory. McClelland advance up the 
Yorktown Peninsula had been stopped in the Seven Days' Battle, 
and, after 4t Little Mac's' ' abortive campaign of three months and 
a week, it was a confident Lee who watched the Union forces in 
their "flight across the swamps/" 7 On the western front, inactivity 
also prevailed. Union lethargy rendered the April victory at Pitts- 
burg Landing almost Iruitles*. Now, fear crept abroad and htark 
disaster threatened, as General Bragg, after assembling a large 
Confederate force at Chattanooga, entered Kentucky and threat- 
ened Ohio and Indiana. Benjamin Harrison in later years vividly 
recalled these perilous days: 

Buell was returning from Tennessee, Kirby Smith coming through 
the Cumberland Gap, and McClellan had been defeated on the pe- 
ninsula. It seemed as if the frown of God was on our cause. 35 

As Harrison added, "this was not the heyday of success." This 
was gross understatement, for in Indiana, as in the majority of 
other Union states, war enthusiasm had yielded to general apathy. 
Among the Hoosiers the public depression was particularly great. 
As an antidote, Governor Morton joined with seventeen other 
state executives in memorializing President Lincoln on June 28 
to the effect that "the people of the United States are desirous to 
aid promptly in furnishing all reenforcements that you may deem 
needful to sustain our Government." 59 Within three days, Lin- 
coln had placed his grateful acknowledgment in the hands of the 
various governors. He told them that he concurred in their views 

so Stampp, op. cit., p. 133. This premature hah to recruiting was loudly pro- 
tested and severely criticised. Governor Morton of Indiana led the opposition to 
this move. See Foulke, op. cit., I, 179. 

W Williams, op. cit., pp. 214-41, a severe indictment of McClellan. 

3S Charles Hedges (comp.), Speeches of Benjamin Harrison (Xew York, 1893), 
p. 117. This was the high point of General Harrison's famous address to the 14th 
reunion of the Seventieth Indiana Regiment, held at Clauon Village, Hendricks 
Count\, on September 13, 1888. 

39 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 7, 1862. The text of this communication was 
republished on this day along with Lincoln's reply under date of July i. 


and suggestions. Consequently, on July i , he decided "to call into 
service an additional force of 300,000," suggesting and recom- 
mending that "these troops be chiefly of Infantry." 60 

Governor Morton faced the serious problem of implementing 
his promise, for he discovered that the enthusiasm he voiced far 
outstripped that of the ordinary citizen upon whom fell the task 
of meeting the new state quota. To insure a generous response 
to the President's request for more troops, Morton resorted to a 
special proclamation to the people. First he appealed to their 
pride, telling them that "up to this hour Indiana occupies a most 
exalted position connected with the war . . . her troops have been 
in almost every battle . . . with uniform and distinguished gal- 
lantry." Then came his direct and forceful request for man- 

I therefore call upon every man, whatever may be his rank and con- 
dition in life, to put aside his business, and come to the rescue of his 
country. Upon every man individually let me urge the solemn truth, 
that whatever may be his condition or business, he has no business or 
duty half so important to himself and family as the speedy and ef- 
fectual suppression of the Rebellion. 61 

The response was distinctly disappointing. 62 Although for two 
or three days the newspapers carried reprints of the Governor's 
strong appeal, it went practically unheeded. Morton was thor- 
oughly dejected, and he was not the kind of man to hide his feel- 
ings. It was in this despondent mood that Benjamin Harrison 
found him on the morning of July 9, 1862. 

Accompanied by his former law partner, Will Wallace, Har- 
rison arrived at the Governor's office shortly before noon to dis- 
cuss a political matter. Though the Governor was by no means 
jovial, he received his two political lieutenants in a cordial man- 
ner, At the close of their conference, he asked them to step into 
his inner room on the east side of the Old State House, where he 
led them to the window. A bit puzzled, Harrison and Wallace 
stood there with Morton. In silence they watched a score of work- 
so Ibid. 

l Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 7, 1862. 


men engaged in the erection of a new building. Ten minutes 
dragged by. Morton did not say a word. 

Then the Governor shattered the strange silence. He was thor- 
oughly appalled, he said, by the weak response of his people to 
the presidential call for volunteers. He was even further plagued 
by sights such as all three were now observing. He mumbled 
something about the able-bodied men laboring so unconcernedly 
in the pursuits of private enterprise. "See here," he exclaimed, 
"look at those workmen across the street, toiling to put up a new 
building, as if such a thing could be possible when the country 
itself is in danger of destruction." 63 The Governor was thor- 
oughly alarmed. 

He had thought his own presence in the field might serve as 
an example to the people of the state and thereby stimulate re- 
cruiting. Lincoln had not approved of the plan, and Morton's 
request for active service had met with a categorical refusal. 64 
Now, he unburdened his troubled soul to Harrison and Wallace: 

Gentlemen, there is absolutely no response to Mr. Lincoln's last call 
for troops. The people do not seem to realize the necessities of the 
situation. Something must be done to break the spirit of apathy and 
indifference which now prevails. 65 

Harrison felt that the Governor was appealing to him per- 
sonally. 66 Hence, without hesitation, he replied: "Governor, if 
I can be of any service, I will go." 6T 

Morton refused to make a snap decision. His reply was a few 
moments in coming, and when it did it was a compromise answer. 
"You can raise a regiment in this Congressional district right 
away; but it is asking too much of you to go into the field with 
it. You have just been elected Reporter of the Supreme Court. 

68 House Document A T o. 154, p. no. Wallace, op. cit., pp. 179 ff., describes Mor- 
ton pointing to the men cutting stone and then saying: "These men are following 
their own private business, so that it has come to be a serious question what I shall 
do next to arouse them.'* 

64 Foulke, op. dt., p. 181. 

65 House Document No. 154, p. 1 10. 

66 Morton's biographer alleges that "Harrison had told Morton, sometime be- 
fore, that whenever it was necessary for Him to go, the Governor was to inform 
him." Foulke, op. cit., p. 184. 

67 House Document .Vo. /y^ f p. no. 


But go to work and raise it, and we will find somebody to com- 
mand it." Cn 

This suggestion that he enlist others for a task that he himself 
would be avoiding failed to appeal. He refused emphatically to 
concur in Morton's compromise solution. He would not recruit 
others for battle and then stay at home himself. Faced with this 
ultimatum, the Governor not only acquiesced in Harrison's de- 
termination to go with the troops, but offered him command of 
the regiment. Complete ignorance of military tactics forced him 
to reply: "I do not know as I want to command the regiment . . . 
so, if you can find some suitable person of experience in such 
matters, I am not at all anxious to take the command." 69 Before 
the interview ended, Morton agreed to hold in abeyance his of- 
fer to commission Harrison colonel of the regiment about to be 
formed. However, he commissioned him a Second Lieutenant, 
"fully empowering him to enlist volunteers for said regiment and 
when enlisted to muster them into the United States service." 70 
As they walked down the capitol steps, County Clerk William 
Wallace became Lieutenant Harrison's first recruit. 71 

When Harrison left Wallace at the State House steps, the 
freshly commissioned officer did not, as one might suspect, go 
directly home and break the news to an unsuspecting wife. He 
stopped first at a store, purchased a military cap, engaged a fife- 
player, and then returned to his office. After he had flung a flag 
out of the window, he sat back quietly and waited for Company 
A's second recruit. That evening he confided the news to Carrie, 
who made the sacrifice as bravely as he himself had done. 72 Her 
acceptance of the call of duty played no small part in encouraging 

s Wallace, op. cit., pp. 179-80. 
G Ibid., p. 180. 

70 From the Adjutant General's Office of the Indiana Volunteer Militia, Indian- 
apolis, Indiana, July 9, i86a, the following commission was issued: "BENJAMIN 
HARRISON has been appointed a Second Lieut, in the 7oth Regiment Indiana Volun- 
teers, to be organized in the sixth congressional district of the State, in pursuance 
of general orders no. 49 issued at this office. He is fully empowered to enlist volun- 
teers for said regiment and when enlisted to muster them into the United States 
Service. By order of his Excellency, O. P. Morton, Governor. (Signed) L. A. Z. Noble, 
Adt. Genl. Indiana." Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

71 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 12, 1862, and July 16, 1862, wherein mention 
is made of "Our County Clerk, William Wallace, Esq., who is a high private in his 
[Harrison's] Company." 

72 An unidentified newspaper clipping in Scrapbook Vol. 9, Harrison MSS. 


her husband. She possessed a deep faith so deep that it wrung 
from the pen of James Whitcomb Riley the following tribute: 

Yet with the faith she knew 
\Ve see her still 

Even as here she stood 

All that \vas pure and good 

And sweet in womanhood- 
God's will her will. 73 

During the next two days the recruiting was discouragingly 
slow. Only when the morning edition of the Indianapolis Daily 
Journal was in the streets on Saturday, July 12, did the fires of 
patriotism glow at all. A large advertisement notified 4i all friends 
of the Union" of a grand rally scheduled for Masonic Hall that 
evening at eight o'clock. Old men were invited to contribute aid 
by counsel and means; the young were urged "to let the spirit of 
'76 kindle in your breast and prove yourselves not unworthy 
keepers of the Ark of Liberty." 74 The principal speakers were to 
be General Ebenezer Dumont, Governor Morton, County Clerk 
William Wallace, and Supreme Court Reporter Benjamin Har- 

It was soon evident that a second meeting place would have 
to be assigned to handle an overflow crowd. Long before eight 
o'clock, Masonic Hall was so closely packed that a man could 
scarcely edge his way in. Enthusiasm grew with the increasing 
numbers, and after the State House Grove was designated as the 
second meeting place, the crowd assembled there surpassed that 
at Masonic Hall. The speakers decided that they would address 
both assemblies in turn. 75 

At Masonic Hall, Governor Morton made the opening address 
and then presided over the meeting. He stressed repeatedly the 
utter necessity of sacrificing private interests for the public wel- 
fare, and then closed on a note of confidence. "He had faith that 
the people would come to the rescue and save the Government." 70 
The Governor then introduced General Dumont, famous for his 

73 Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, III, 1411. Riley gave this tribute upon the 
occasion of Mrs. Harrison's death, October 25, 1892. 

74 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 12, i86a. 
73 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 14, 1862. 


early rout of the Confederate forces at Philippi. 77 His appearance 
was greeted with loud and prolonged cheering. Sensing the rising 
patriotic fervor of the crowd, the general keyed his remarks so as 
to endorse point by point Morton's appeal to furnish a goodly 
number of volunteers. The Governor had put the cards on the 
table and they were face up: 

Indiana must do her duty or our country is lost. From 5,000 to 6,000 
Indianians had been lost to us defending the best government in the 
world, and if we now dishonor the cause in which they sacrificed their 
lives, we disgrace their memory. 78 

At this point, according to the newspaper reporters, William 
Wallace and Benjamin Harrison returned from addressing the 
larger meeting at the State House Grove. Both were immediately 
called upon to speak. Wallace rose first and captured the crowd by 
his sincerity. He explained how "on the day before Mr. Benjamin 
Harrison and [myself] had been appealed to by Governor Mor- 
ton to give [our] services to the country." Hence, he said, he was 
convinced that "the hour had come when every man should re- 
spond to his country's call for volunteers." He concluded by dis- 
closing the fact that he had already volunteered and was ready to 
go "with a knapsack on his back and a musket in hand." 

Benjamin Harrison spoke with equal simplicity and sincerity. 
The Journal recorded his remarks as follows: 

Benjamin Harrison, Esq., Reporter of the Supreme Court, said that 
his determination to volunteer was the result of deliberate judgment. 
He had calculated the cost and though the sacrifices to him were great, 
both in a personal and a business point of view, he had determined to 
take the step and he would keep his word. He could not weigh the 
questions of profit or tender ties of home against the duty he owed 
his Government. And he had no more interest in the country than any 
of those to whom he was speaking, and it came home to all. He trusted 
many would give their names now, and that their example would 
work a good leaven in the hearts of his hearers that would make it 
uncomfortable for those who can go to remain at home. 79 

77 "At Philippi the Confederates were completely surprised by Cols. Kelley and 
Dumont, and beat so hasty a retreat that the affair received the local name of the 
Thilippi Races'." See Rossiter Johnson, Campfire and Battlefield (New York, 1894), 

78 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 14, 1862. 

7 Ibid. At the conclusion of Harrison's speech, the recruiting books were opened 
at both meetings. The Journal reported that "with energetic efforts two companies 
are to be raised in as many weeks in this city and county." 


At the conclusion of Harrison's speech, a number signified 
their intention of volunteering, while still another group sub- 
scribed over $1,500 "to aid in recruiting and for support of the 
families of those enlisting." The impetus given to the raising of 
the Seventieth Regiment by this meeting was immeasurable. 

On July 14, recruiting officers were appointed in all the con- 
gressional districts of the state, with power to enlist men for the 
term of "three years, or during the war."* 10 In Indianapolis "the 
stars and stripes were flung to the breeze from a number of win- 
dows/' and so lively was the recruiting that two days later in- 
dications were that the city and the county would furnish at least 
three companies. 61 

During the first week, two factors combined to keep the fires 
of patriotism burning brightly. First were the various bounties, 
totaling some 70, offered to every man who was accepted by the 
mustering officer. 82 This was the initial security needed by men 
who were leaving families behind them. And there was consider- 
able appeal in an advertisement of Harrison's, indicating that 
his recruiting office was his own law office, and adding the ex- 

Boys, think quick, and decide as patriots should in such an emer- 
gency. Fathers, cease to restrain the ardor of your sons, whose patriotic 
impulses prompt them to aid our country in its hour of trials. Ladies, 
give the stout and hearty young men who caught your smiles, to un- 
derstand that "the brave alone deserve the fair." 85 

While his days were devoted to business pursuits as well as to 
the task of enlisting friends and neighbors, Harrison frequently 
spent the evening in speech-making. According to the press, these 
oratorical efforts were productive of volunteers, but after July 

SO Samuel Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry (Indianapolis, 
1900), p. i. 

si Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 16, 1862. **Ll. Bcnj. Harrison received many 
accessories to his list, and his office presented a lively appearance." The other coun- 
ties besides Marion were Hendricks, Johnson, and Shelby. All were active in raising 

82 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 18, 1862. Reporting on Harrison's Co. A, the 
paper said: "Three responsible gentlemen have agreed to obligate themselves to 
pay $50 to each of the men with family who enlist in this company. In addition the 
county pays $10 to each recruit, and the city will make a similar appropriation." 



20, patriotic speeches were not needed. A new stimulus was 
found to foster Indiana's growing war fever: the daily head- 
lines^* They sounded the alarm of the rapid Southern advance 
toward Indiana, and soon editorials appeared: "Indiana In- 
vaded," "Xewburgh Taken," "Evansville Threatened, 1 ' "Rebels 
in Possession of Henderson, Kentucky," and "Up Hoosiers and 
Defend Your Homes." Such warnings carried more sting than 
did the challenge of a patriotic speaker, and they reached a wider 

Under these circumstances, it was less than two weeks before 
Second Lieutenant Harrison was ready to file his muster roll with 
the Adjutant General. The document listed eighty-five members, 
including officers, non-commissioned officers and privates. Upon 
its presentation, Governor Morton commissioned Harrison "to 
the office of Captain in and for the 7oth Regiment ... on the ssnd 
day of July."* 3 This promotion was doubly appreciated in the 
Harrison household, for the new Captain could choose his brother- 
in-law, the experienced and reliable Henry Scott, as a First Lieu- 
tenant in the outfit. sc -That evening, Company A, joined by four 
other newly recruited companies, reported to Colonel Burgess on 
the commons northwest of the old state fair grounds. Here the 
Seventieth Indiana located their camp. 

Having secured for his men the services of an experienced 
drillmaster from Chicago, 87 Captain Harrison did not immedi- 
ately report to camp. Actually, there were many bits of unfinished 
business that occupied his attention, and he could care for these 
while "assisting in enlisting the other companies completing my 
regiment." 88 The most difficult task was obtaining a competent 
substitute to handle his Reporter's duties. His family income de- 
pended mainly upon the successful conduct of this office. For- 
tunately, the man whom Harrison desired most and the one 
whom he approached first, John Caven, accepted the trust. Im- 

S* "The "War in Kentucky," "Morgan Captures Cynthiana," "The Guerrillas 
35.5 Strong," "Bridges Burned," "An Entire Company Killed or Taken Prisoner." 
Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 19, 1862. 

S3 This signed commission is preserved in Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 681. 

86 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July 23, 24, 1862; also Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

S7 Wallace, op. cit., pp. 181-82. The drillmaster's pay came out of Harrison's 
own pocket. He wrote afterwards: "I enlisted a Company myself in 1862, and spent 
a good deal of money in doing it." B. Harrison to Capt .' Joseph Beckman, April i, 
1888, Harrison MSS, Vol. 24, 4959 (Tibbott transcript). 


mediately, but without legal contract, 114 Harrison designated him 
Deputy Reporter. 

There was one other pivotal figure in Harrison's plan to secure 
Carrie and the children from %vant while he was at the front. 
This was Fish back, his de\ oted law partner. The young officer was 
faced with a dilemma which Fishback himself characterized aptly 
when he wrote: **I must confess your example has inspired me 
with the duty of going myself as much as your advice has inclined 
me to remain."'* Although there seemed to be no ready solution 
to this problem, unforeseen events determined Fishback to remain 
"and practice law as formerly in the style of Harrison and Fish- 
back." 91 Harrison wrote to Carrie: 

Tell Mr. Fishback ... he and my other friends must manage the 
matter of my Reporter's office this fall as seems best. I hope he will 
succeed in making sufficient collections to keep you well supplied 
with money. 02 

By early August, everything was in readiness. The Seventieth 
Indiana Regiment was not only full, but had a surplus of 250 
men; 93 and, as far as Harrison personally was concerned, ade- 
quate provision had been made for his family, his profession and 
his elective office. Consequently, on August 8, after being com- 
missioned a full Colonel, 04 Benjamin Harrison assumed his com- 
mand. Though he was a novice in military drill and discipline, 
his appointment received a favorable press. The Journal ob- 

Col. Ben Harrison will make a good regimental commander, hav- 
ing the requisite amount of energy and ability to apply himself to the 
new work before him, and with a little experience will master those 
details of drill and discipline so essential to the good management of 
a thousand men. 95 

89 Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 52, p. 94, the testimony of Caven in an unidentified 
newspaper clipping. The fact that there was no legal or registered agreement 
proved a serious oversight, once the matter of Harrison's successor reached the 
Indiana Supreme Court. 

90 w. p. Fishback to Col. Benjamin Harrison, August 25, 1862, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 4, 696. 

i Ibid. 

92 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, August 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 689-91. 

93 Indianapolis Daily Journal. August 8, iS6s. 

94 This commission is also preserved in Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
93 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 9, 1862. 


Four days later, Harrison and his regiment were under march- 
ing orders to join the Union concentration of troops at Louis- 
ville, toward which a Confederate army under Bragg was then 
moving. 06 Confusion struck the city, as numerous friends and 
relatives of the members of the regiment began to arrive from all 
parts of central Indiana. Some came too late even to enjoy one 
of the four dress parades which Harrison and his men staged 
before breaking camp. 97 

The memorable evening was that of August 12 and, although 
sorrow vied with patriotism, in some respects it was a gala event: 

The band of the igth Infantry was on the ground and officiated at 
the dress parade, discoursing most appropriate music. After the pa- 
rade William P. Fishback came forward with a beautifully wrought 
sword which he presented to Col. Harrison on behalf of some friends 
of this city, accompanying the act with an appropriate speech, to 
which Harrison responded feelingly and eloquently. 98 

Not to be outdone, the ladies of Indianapolis prepared a colorful 
regimental banner and delegated Judge David McDonald to pre- 
sent it to the men through their Colonel. On behalf of his regi- 
ment, Harrison, "in becoming terms," accepted the gift. The 
principal civilian address of the evening was by John L. Ketcham, 
another close friend of Colonel Harrison. Ketcham justified the 
cause in which the men were about to engage, and concluded by 
presenting a huge American flag, "another gift of the fair ladies." 
For the third time Colonel Harrison replied, calling upon his 
men, as a reporter related, 

... to answer with three cheers, that they would never turn their backs 
upon that flag, but defend it to the last. This appeal was answered by 
three cheers and a tiger, most heartily given by all the men. 

The color guard was then called up and the flags turned over to it 
with that injunction on the part of the Colonel, to protect them in the 
hour of danger at every hazard. 

9 House Document No. 154, p. in; also Indianapolis Daily Journal, August n, 

97 Actually, their real military assignment had occurred when Harrison's and 
Meredith's companies marched into the Union Depot and escorted a trainload of 
Confederate prisoners to Camp Morton (August 5, 1862). The Journal of August 7, 
186*, remarked: "it was the first military duty done by these two new companies 
and it was well done." 

98 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 13, 1862. 


Col. Harrison's concluding address was most eloquent and patri- 
otic, and vociferous cheering followed its conclusion. 1121 

When the ceremonies were over and the last visitor had left the 
camp, the hour was so late that the departure was rescheduled 
for nine o'clock the following morning. 

Promptly at seven the next morning, Wednesday, August 13, 
the regiment broke camp. At its head rode Colonel Harrison, 
astride "a fine sorrel horse." Sidewalks and cross streets were 
crowded as the men took up their line of inarch from the camp 
to the Jeffersonville, Indiana, train. The regiment, new Enfield 
rifles in hand, 100 reached the train between eight and nine o'clock, 
but it was long after ten before the men were arranged in the cars 
and made ready for starting. 

Company E claimed the honor of shedding the first blood, 
when, just as the engine was about to start, Private William 
Cooper, with an eager fist, taught a citizen not to utter unpatri- 
otic sentiments while farewells were being spoken. Again, while 
the Louisville-bound train was wending its way southward, a 
huge bull planted himself on the track and disputed its passage. 
The next moment the regiment had bowled over its second op- 
ponent. 101 The men laughed boisterously over the incident, but 
they were not lulled into any false sense of security about what 
might await them. 

At home, reports of the rapid rebel advance were headlined in 
the press: "The crisis is alarming Gov. Morton is moving with 
all energy to meet it ... all the troops that can move will be sent 
at once to Kentucky . . . and they will go amply prepared in all 
but discipline. . . ." 102 With her hero husband in the midst of 
danger, Carrie spent many a restless night. 

100 Merrill, op. ciL, p. 4. 

101 ibid.; also Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 14, 1862. 

102 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 16, 1862. Even as the regiment marched 
to the train on the igth, bystanders commented favorably on its ability, but every- 
one added: "If it can have a week or two of instruction before engaging actively on 
the field, it will have acquired a proficiency in drill that will have prepared it for 
almost any emergency." Ibid., August 14, 1862. 


The Soil of Kentucky 

THERE USUALLY COMES a moment in the conscious develop- 
ment of every human soul when some serious choice, 
or important decision, or difficult renunciation must be 
made. Such a moment came to Benjamin Harrison and to his 
regiment of Hoosier Volunteers while they rode the Louisville- 
bound cars on that hot August day in 1862. They had ample 
time for reflection. 

As the train rumbled and lurched southward from Indianapo- 
lis, crawling laboriously, few realized better than this freshly com- 
missioned colonel that the group under his charge was a regiment 
in name only. He knew that he was confronted with a difficult 
task, and he was particularly conscious that it would require a 
thorough organization on the part of himself and his staff to make 
soldiers out of men accustomed to the comforts of home. Perhaps 
nothing less than a complete mental and physical revolution 
would be necessary before these mechanics, farmers and business 
men could be fashioned into a well-drilled and disciplined unit. 
The scene at the Indianapolis depot was a particularly trying 
time for loved ones never before separated. Several claimed that 
they would rather go into the hottest battle than go through the 
departure ceremonies again. 1 Yet the ruling spirit of the regi- 
ment, according to one correspondent from the ranks, was "not 
a feeling of fear, but a holy reverence for the sacredness of home, 
which will nerve men to strike harder blows, take better aim, and 
make longer marches, than the merely instructed soldier/' 2 As 
this is the moral fiber out of which good soldiers are made, 

1 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 20, 1862. These sentiments appeared in a 
letter written to the editor on August 16, 1862. 

2 Ibid. 

1 88 


Harrison concluded that, though his task was difficult, it was far 
from impossible. 

This journey of the regiment to Louisville was, as Ben wrote 
to Carrie, 4 'safe and reasonably pleasant . . . we were greeted 
at every town and farmhouse with cheers and waving handker- 
chiefs."- Indeed, along the entire route and at every station, it 
was evident from the ''anxiety manifested, the moistened eyes, 
and the sustained applause of almost every community that the 
7Oth carried with it dear friends from every county in the Dis- 
trict." 4 

When the troop train arrived at Jeffersonville, Indiana, an 
aide of Brigadier General J. T. Boyle presented Harrison with 
orders to proceed directly to Louisville. The regiment proceeded 
to the fern*, crossed the Ohio River, and marched through Louis- 
ville to a large farm some three miles outside the city. This was a 
fairly open area and close to the Nashville railroad depot. It 
marked the end of a tiring trip. "Our men were so fatigued," 
Harrison relates, "that they did not put up their tents but turned 
in on the ground. Some of them did not take their blankets out 
of their knap sacks but just used it for a pillow." 5 

Complete physical exhaustion guaranteed sleep. Colonel Har- 
rison, however, was a bit perplexed, and before yielding to sleep 
he made a rapid mental survey of the situation in which he found 
himself. Here at his side were sleeping more than a thousand 
men, "the first into the field" under Lincoln's call of July i. 
They were encamped now in "country overrun by enemies of 
the Government," and Ben pondered the fact that during the 
entire three-mile march through Louisville "most of the citizens 
looked on in sullen silence/' 7 though from one residence "ladies 

3 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, August 16, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

4 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 20, 1862. The Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, 
the Democratic organ of the city and state, carried very little comment on the Sev- 
entieth until much later in the war. 

5 Benjamin Harrison to his wife, August 14, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. A more 
detailed description appeared in the Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 20, 1862. 

6 Samuel Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 4. The troops 
were in Louisville less than a month from the time the first man was enlisted. Also 
in Indianapolis Daily Journal, March 14, 1901, it was reaffirmed :hat this was "the 
first regiment from any Northern state to enter the region where disloyalty pre- 

7 Merrill, op. cit., p. 5: "Little enthusiasm was manifested in Louisville. It seemed 
to be regarded as a small matter for Indianians to come armed for the protection of 
Kcntuckians from robbers and murderers, though what Union feeling is manifested, 
appears to be genuine. But there is not enough of it 1 ." 


came out bearing waiters full of caKes and pies, which they of- 
fered to the boys." Only the "Negroes could not restrain their 
joyous laughter and cheers." 8 This sobering first contact with the 
"secesh" mentality failed to dampen Harrison's enthusiasm or 
lessen the pride he felt. Late in the night he wrote Carrie his 
secret thoughts: 

We are proud of her [Indiana] and hope to make her proud of us 
before we return from the war. I hope you all remember us at home 
and that many prayers go up to God daily for my Regiment and for 
me. Ask Him for me in prayer, my dear wife, first that He will enable 
me to bear myself as a good soldier of Jesus Christ; second, that He will 
give me valor and skill to conduct myself so as to honor my country 
and my friends; and lastly, if consistent with His holy will, I may be 
brought "home again" to the dear loved ones, if not, that the rich 
consolation of His grace may be made sufficient for me and for those 

who survive We will improve the time of our stay . . . and be better 

prepared to render effective service when called upon. 9 

In his concluding sentence Harrison was merely voicing the 
almost universal belief that the regiment would be kept some 
time at Louisville. Yet, twenty-four hours after arrival, a courier 
from headquarters handed the Colonel marching orders that 
were effective immediately. The regiment's destination was Bowl- 
ing Green, Kentucky, a strategic military center located some 
thirty miles above the Tennessee border. A soldier has left his 
vivid impressions of the action-filled moments after the order to 
strike tents was issued: 

In five minutes Col. Harrison had out his troops to prepare for 
marching, and in an hour our tents were struck, 40 rounds of ammuni- 
tion drawn, and the entire Regiment in line, a drenching rain falling 
at the time. It was an encouraging sight to see the boys with their 
heads erect, weathering the storms like veterans. We marched to the 
depot and took passage in a train, miserable, filthy box cars, 10 some 
of them without seats, and what seats they had, appeared to have been 
stolen from country school houses. 11 

8 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 20, 1862. 

B. Harrison to his wife, August 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

10 Merrill, op. cit., p. 5, related: "these cars had been used to convey cattle, and 
the author of Knickerbocker's History of New York would have described them as 
fragrantly cushioned for military occupants." 

11 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 20, 1862. 

Harrison recorded the fact that his regiment finally "got off at 
6 P.M all on one train with one engine." In no sense, however, 
could he call their departure "an encouraging sight.' 1 To his wife 
he also confided his feelings of personal chagrfn: 

I was too much mortified and amused to see the ignorance and 
awkwardness of some of our men and officers when I gave the order 
for the battalion to load before getting on the cars at Louisville. Some 
of them got the wrong end of the ball down and some rammed the 
paper down into the ball and got it lodged. I got mad and went along 
the lines scolding, but finally concluded to take it good naturedly and 
make a joke out of it. 12 

This move to Bowling Green was fraught with more than or- 
dinary peril. Danger was imminent because of the activity of 
Confederate Colonel John H. Morgan, head of a marauding cav- 
alry band of i,soo. 13 Only two days before Harrison was ordered 
from Louisville, Colonel Morgan and his hard-riding rebel band 
had captured Gallatin, Tennessee, and by destroying railroad 
bridges and several sections of track had effectively severed com- 
munications between Nashville and Louisville. 14 Union intelli- 
gence reported that Morgan and his command were headed north 
from Gallatin, and it was conjectured that Bowling Green was 
his next military objective. 

Harrison was fully apprised of Morgan's northern movement, 
but this knowledge in no way lessened the danger of attack and 
interference. While the tyros of the Seventieth Indiana were will- 
ing and eager for actual combat, the sobering fact still remained 
that their familiarity with firearms was restricted to hunting 
equipment. Weapons of war still mystified them. As Harrison 
and his men jolted along that night of August 14 through "an 
enemy's country with raw recruits lying on loaded guns," 15 it 

12 B. Harrison to his wife, August 16, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

13 R. U. Johnson and C. C. Buel (eds.), Battles and Leaders of the Civil War 
(New York, 1888), ni, Part i, pp. 26-28. Perhaps the best account of Morgan's 
Cavalry during the Bragg invasion of Kentucky is given by Brig. Gen. Basil W. 
Duke, C.S.A. He relates that Morgan's duty "was the destruction of the railroad 
track and bridges between Nashville and Bowling Green, for the purpose of retard- 
ing Buell's movements when the latter should begin his retreat to Louisville." 

15 Merrill, op. cit., p. 5. 


might be difficult to decide whether the danger was greater from 
within or from without. Harrison himself confessed that "we 
rode in constant expectation of being pitched into some creek, 
or riddled by musketry. We all slept quietly, however, trusting, 
in my case at least, to a good providence to protect us." 16 

On the home front, however, and especially at Indianapolis, 
the friends of the regiment were filled with alarm. No sooner had 
the news of the assignment to Bowling Green reached the city 
than the rumor was strong that "Harrison's men were badly used 
up by Morgan and taken prisoners/' 17 This report worried Car- 
rie greatly, and her fears mounted frantically until allayed by her 
first note from her husband in the field: "We arrived here safely 
this morning about nine A.M. and am now, after a hard day's 
work, getting our camp arranged in order. I have only time to 
write this brief note to tell you of our safety." 18 

After the flood of false rumors had subsided, Indianapolis rest- 
ed easily in the truth that the initial assignment in enemy terri- 
tory had been executed without incident. Harrison's report from 
Bowling Green was to the effect that they were "pleasantly en- 
camped on a beautiful slope near the town," 19 and the men were 
soon writing home that they were "well supplied with all that a 
soldier can wish." 20 Translated into the reality of camp life, this 
latter report signified the men could acquire everything desirable 
in the eating line: "peach cobblers, chicken pies, milk and so 
forth ... for the boys are all flush and can't stand the pressure of 
sheet iron biscuit and fat bacon." 21 

During the first week of encampment the regiment was kept 
under arms for several hours each day. The frequency of alarms 
both day and night, the excitement and tenseness of the camp 
rising from Morgan's supposed proximity, gave a zest for drilling 
that nothing else could supply. After only a week, according to 
one observer, the Seventieth Indiana in the promptness of its 

l Benj. Harrison to his wife, August 16, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

IT Benj. Harrison to his wife, August 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 689-91. 

18 Benj. Harrison to his wife, August 15, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

i Ben also told Carrie that Morgan's forces, or at least his main force, was prob- 
ably still at Gallatin, Tennessee, some forty miles to the south. He thought, how- 
ever, a "few of his assassins were prowling about." Benj. Harrison to his wife, Au- 
gust 16, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

20 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 21, 1862. P. T. J. M. to the Editor. 

21 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, September 4, 1862. Letter to the Editor. 


movement and in soldierly appearance "would rival many older 
regiments/' 22 

Upon arrival at Bowling Green, Harrison's regiment had been 
assigned to a provisional brigade under the command of Colonel 
S. D. Bruce, a pleasant gentleman from Kentucky. 23 Bruce in- 
structed Harrison that, as his prime task was to fashion an effec- 
tive fighting unit, neither discipline nor tactical instruction was 
to be minimized. His confidence in their numerical superiority 
was shared by Harrison, who lost no time in informing his wife 
that "we have abundant forces here I think to whip him [Mor- 
gan] handsomely ... at least we would like to try our chance with 
him." 24 

Perhaps the most substantial reason why this young and in- 
experienced colonel could indulge his feeling of security was that 
this provisional stop-gap brigade was now occupying the almost 
impregnable fortifications constructed earlier by Confederate 
General Simon B. Buckner and 10,000 men. 25 Buckner's forti- 
fications, moreover, were still in first-rate condition, and, if an 
attack had been made by Morgan's guerrillas or by his entire 
force, the place would have been a bulwark of defense. It is little 
wonder, then, that these troops, although still unchristened by 
battle, "were on the lookout for lively times." 26 

The succeeding weeks of camp life at Bowling Green served 
as an effective proving ground for character training as well as 
for military drill. Only on Sunday was the strict daily order for 
drilling somewhat relaxed. Otherwise, reveille was sounded at 
five, and each company had an hour's drill before the six-o'clock 
breakfast. A second drill period of two hours* duration was pre- 
ceded by mounting guard, officers' drill and police duty. Nor was 
the afternoon routine any less strenuous: dinner at twelve noon; 
non-commissioned officers' drill from one to two; battalion drill 
from two to four; supper at five; dress parade from six to seven; 
roll call at eight and lights out at nine. 27 

22 Indianapolis Daily Journal, August 21, 1862. 

23 ibid., November 7, 1862. 

24 Benj. Harrison to his wife, August 16, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

25 Rossiter Johnson, Camp fire and Battlefield, p. 76. As a result of the Battle of 
Mill Springs and the fall of Fort Henry, Buckner was compelled to abandon 
Bowling Green, and the area fell into Union hands. 

26 Indianapolis Daily Journal. Bode to the Editor, August so, 1862. 

27 Merrill, op. cit., pp. 6 ff. 


The road to military perfection was steep and difficult, and 
what the young soldiers hated above all was the rigid discipline. 
Even the regimental historian, Samuel Merrill, felt compelled 
to characterize his colonel's attitude on discipline as distinctly 

Discipline was severe, for the commander, Colonel Benjamin Har- 
rison, knew that without discipline a thousand men are no better 
than a mob. He proposed to form a battalion that in the day of battle 
would move as if animated by one soul. He had the intellect and will, 
and he accomplished the work. 28 

During these months of intense preparation Harrison and his 
command were fortunate in having the services of Major S. C. 
Vance, a superior drillmaster. 29 Under his able supervision the 
troops moved with clock-like precision, and before long Colonel 
Harrison manifested his pleasure at their progress. With a cer- 
tain amount of pride and a sense of personal achievement, he in- 
formed Carrie that his "field and staff officers are getting along 
very pleasantly . . . the utmost harmony and good feeling prevails. 
I have no apprehension of any trouble or disagreement. We are 
enforcing a very strict discipline in the camp and the Regiment 
is progressing very finely in the drill." 80 

Several compliments were paid to the regiment for "good order 
and soldierly bearing," he told her, but the young colonel quickly 
discovered that, although the good name of the regiment was be- 
ing secured, it was at the price of his own popularity. A real crisis 
developed over the use of whiskey by the soldiers. Colonel Bruce 
had "drawn the strings tight on saloons" 81 in Bowling Green. 
Such establishments were "forbidden to sell or to give soldiers, 
(commissioned officers are not considered soldiers . . . they get 
their 'nips' at all times), nor can a commissioned officer treat or 
give to a private." The soldiers found extreme difficulty getting 
their "morning's warming." 82 Naturally, all kinds of dodges were 

2 Major Vance, of Indianapolis, received his commission on August 9, 1862. He 
resigned on April 10, 1863, and re-entered the service as colonel of the i$2nd 

30 Benj. Harrison to his wife, August 21. 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

31 Indianapolis Daily Journal, November 7, 1862. 

32 These details are from a letter dated Bowling Green, Ky., October 255, 1862, 
published in the Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, November 7, 1862. 

Vl 4^1-ia. ' ; ' * * T f ,'* T' * ' * / r * .'- 

r.^^b^sta *?#,/ . ? . //- -faS 

r ^^X?^-.' j J^fiK?!*L., I.^._> "- - 

^-^.'^VT' -V^ , V""; *o 
s^gsa^a^ i\r>-- ' " ."-" ' ': , -. 

From TAe Mmaadn Campaigns in Georgia; or, Tar Scenes on the F. and A. 
Published by the Testers and Atlantic R.R. Company 








practiced, and, when successful, proved detrimental to the good 
order of the regiment. The problem grew more serious, and when 
the following incident took place, Colonel Hairison took a very 
firm stand. The Indianapolis people read the story this way: 

A young commissioned officer \vho had fellow feeling for a fellow 
soldier, was standing with a non-commissioned officer . . . [on] a cold, 
damp, ugly day, debating that interesting question how they could 
get a smile. They decided on the following trick as worth a trial: . . . 
Straps walked in ... pouring out about three fingers, drank half , . . 
stopped to flatter the bar creature on keeping such excellent Burb. In 
walked Mr. Non-Corn, with a note for Mr. Com. who left this standing 
on the counter while he read it. Non-Commissioned hurried down 
what was left and walked out . . . they smiled several times and at 
several places that evening. 33 

Similar instances of misconduct angered Colonel Bruce to such 
an extent that Harrison confided to Carrie "I think he has taken 
a strong dislike to the Regiment and will have further trouble 
with it." 34 In reality, Bruce was not too displeased, but he did 
seize the opportunity of impressing Harrison with the necessity 
of strict observance. The younger man was susceptible to the ad- 
vice of Bruce, and by mid-September Harrison had shown him- 
self a stern disciplinarian and had overcome much of the feeling 
that his subordinates had harbored against him. He wrote to his 
law partner, William Fishback: 

I believe that you will find that every officer has come to respect me 
and that traces of difficulty have been obliterated. I have had no 
trouble in discipline of any company but Capt. Meredith's. He has a 
good many hard city boys and is a very poor disciplinarian himself. 
... I have broken two of his corporals, put one of his lieutenants 
under arrest, and have a large squad always in the guardhouse. They 
are beginning to know me now. 35 

Harrison's rough handling of the men in Captain Meredith's 
company had a sobering effect not only on the men disciplined 
but also on the captain himself, whose change of heart left a last- 
ing impression on the regiment. Meredith had been thoroughly 

33 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, November 7, 1862. 

34 Benj. Harrison to his wife, September 5, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

35 Benjamin Harrison to W. P. Fishback, September 7, 1862, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 4. 


humiliated by Harrison's reprimand and punishment. Accord- 
ingly, it required courage as well as character before the chastised 
captain could address himself to his colonel again. Having found 
himself, he wrote to Harrison: 

It is not for myself alone I plead, but for my wife and children and 
my parents. I am as sincerely anxious to reform, Col., as you are to 
have me reform ... for the sake of those who love me, let me "try 
again." I will take any obligation you may dictate to abstain entirely 
from the use of liquor in all shapes during my connection with the 
army, and will take it in the face of the whole regiment. I do not pre- 
tend to excuse myself, I only ask a chance to redeem myself, to make 
myself worthy of your esteem. 36 

From that day there was a perceptible improvement in the 
discipline of the Seventieth Indiana. Camp Ben Harrison at 
Bowling Green, Kentucky, quickly earned a reputation for so- 
briety and respectability, so that, upon the arrival of such dis- 
tinguished lady visitors as Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. Vance and Mrs. 
Will Wallace, an edifying good order prevailed. 37 

September saw Ben knuckle down to the two principal objec- 
tives: that his men should be finished soldiers and that their 
leader should be a competent tactician. With unfailing regularity 
he marched and drilled his troops by day; by night, long after 
taps had sounded, he studied and perfected himself in theoretical 
tactics and in the art of war. Without military knowledge in July, 
this young lawyer had, by the end of September, grown percepti- 
bly in his new profession. 

Early in the month the commander and his men felt "quite 
gloomy about the news from the Potomac." 38 For them this defi- 
nitely was their first dark hour in the war. Nor did Harrison's 
correspondents from Indianapolis send any encouraging news. 
Fishback was not only deeply despondent but also highly critical 
of the Administration in Washington: 

36 Meredith's plight was a sad one. On August 24, 1862, he wrote: "I have been 
in disgrace now nearly six days, hardly feeling justified in speaking to a fellow of- 
ficer . . . treated very cooly by many of them, and have suffered the most bitter mor- 
tification." W. Meredith to B. Harrison, Harrison. MSS f Vol. 4. 

37 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, August 51, i86a. This was Carrie's first visit with 
Ben in the field. The ladies called for all the mending the boys had to do, fixed all 
the things up, and took thanks for pay, which the boys heartily gave. 

38 Benj. Harrison to his wife, September 5, i86s, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


We have divers rumors here from different seats of war. It is said 
the President is fearful, which means that the Cabinet have been un- 
amused at one of his dim, flat . . . \arns. \Ve are informed that the 
Rebels are "bagged" . . . "in a trap," etc. . . . but the report has shown 
in several similar cases that the game has been strong enough to carry 
away trap, bag and all. After our generals have done skirmishing with 
and outguessing each other, we may expect to hear of some strategy 
that will confound the foe. 39 

Another week of watchful waiting passed at Bowling Green 
before a faint ray of hope appeared. Finally, on the igth, a rumor 
that "McCIellan has whipped Jackson" lifted Harrison's spirits. 
His new-found hope he communicated to Carrie: "I do not fully 
credit it ... [but] if it be true, and we can whip them speedily 
and terribly in Kentucky, the darkness will be turned into day 
and my hopes of speedy success be more cheering than ever be- 
fore." 40 A week later, the rumor was confirmed; the news had 
been despatched to Washington that "Lee had been shockingly 
whipped . . . with his loss at i5,ooo." 41 He read in the Louisville 
and Indianapolis papers at least part of McClellan's jubilant wire 
to General Winfield Scott which stated: "R. E. Lee in command. 
The rebels routed, and retreating in disorder this morning. We 
are pursuing closely and taking many prisoners." 42 Scott's en- 
thusiastic acknowledgment was surpassed only by Lincoln's tele- 
graphic accolade to McClellan: "Your dispatch of today received. 
God bless you and all with you. Destroy the rebel army if pos- 
sible." 43 

As usual, Carrie was the first to share in her husband's joy and 
revived anticipation of a quick Union victory: 

The loyal people of this vicinity and the soldiers were highly elated 
with the good news we received yesterday from the Potomac, and in- 
deed from all divisions of our army. If the armies of Kirby Smith . . . 
[and] Bragg care to be thoroughly defeated in Kentucky and "little 
Mac" will only follow up the rebels to Richmond, this Civil War can 
be speedily ended. I hope the people of our country will recognize 
God's hand in this deliverance and not boast themselves of the valor 

3d William p. Fishback to Benj. Harrison, September 12, 1862, Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 4. 

40 Benj. Harrison to his wife, September 19, 1862, Harrison MSS, VoL 4. 

41 Kenneth P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General, I, 385. 

42 Official Records, Series I, Vol. XIX, Pan u (Serial No. 28), 894-95- 
45 Official Records, op. cit., pp. 57, 53. 


of our soldiers and the skill of our leaders and refuse to see the good 
providence of the God of battles which has now made that valor and 
skill efficient. 44 

Subsequent events diminished this confidence. There was even 
cause for despair when his "little Mac," who could "have thrown 
against Lee a force which would have utterly overwhelmed him," 
procrastinated and eventually lost a golden opportunity for a 
quick and possibly decisive Northern victory. 45 

Under the circumstances, however, Harrison could ill afford 
to carp at McClellan's undistinguished record at this period. The 
Seventieth Indiana, through no fault of its own, had also com- 
piled a war record that was in no sense enviable. Even local In- 
dianapolis newspapers began to picture the regiment as "skylark- 
ing all day" and at night "sleeping as sound as if they were in their 
old camp" 46 at the Hoosier capital. The troops themselves were 
bitterly disappointed with their uneventful existence, especially 
when other Indiana volunteers found themselves in the heat of 
battle despite General Buell's cautious and severely criticized op- 
position to the rebel advance under General Bragg. 47 One of the 
regiment's imaginatively inclined members wrote: 

Columbus was not more rejoiced when the Islands of his long 
dream rose before him than we were to see the advance of Gen. Buell's 
army rolling into Bowling Green yesterday morning. 

We have for the last week been feeling rather over conscious about 
the lungs, being the only regiment here. The other troops stationed 
here were sent to Louisville, leaving us to perform all the picket and 
provost duty, which is very interesting, such as guarding cornfields 
and peach orchards. 48 

Toward the close of September the Bowling Green Camp grew 
alive at the prospect of combat. This sudden change was due 

44 Bcnj. Harrison to his wife, September 26, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

45 Williams, op. tit., II, 497, 816-817. For a more friendly interpretation of 
McClellan see H. J. Eckenrode and Bryan Conrad, George B. McClellan: The Man 
Who Saved the Union (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1941). 

46 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, September 4, 1862. 

47 The Indianapolis Daily Journal, October i, 1862, carried a sharp indictment 
against Buell, when it was prematurely reported that he had been removed: "The 
salvation of the West depends upon the removal of so inefficient a General. The 
army despises him, and well they may. From the beginning he has been a laggard 
... he never meant to fight Bragg. He had plenty of opportunities to cut him all 
to pieces." 


largely to the pressure of the ubiquitous Colonel John Morgan. 41 * 
His forces resumed their program of tearing up railroad tracks 
and burning bridges, with consequent great inconvenience to 
Federal forces stationed in Kentucky. Deprived of communica- 
tion with Indianapolis for nearly a month, the Seventieth In- 
diana found itself the victim of a new disease, easily diagnosed 
as homesickness. No one was spared, though some attacks were 
milder than others. Colonel Harrison was among the more seri- 
ous victims: 

How precious home seems to us all now that we are strangers to 
all of its comforts! The tender affection you have e\ er felt for me, and 
which I so often crossed with wounds, is now the source of my strong- 
est longing . . . and the dear children whose caresses sometimes seemed 
obtrusive when I enjoyed them everyday, now in their dumb images 
excite the strongest longing to feel the pressure of their little arms 
and lips Dear Gifts of God, a wife and two dear babes. 50 

Only marching orders could shake off nostalgic musings. They 
came on September 30, 1862. 

Harrison was in one of his characteristically reflective moods 
when he wrote his wife that "a soldier can never guess what the 
orders of tomorrow may be." 31 He had spoken advisedly, inas- 
much as his own intelligence department consistently reported: 
"Bands of guerrillas within 20 or 30 miles of Bowling Green." 

Colonel Bruce, Harrison's superior officer, had been informed 
that Captain Dortch, a Confederate leader of some local renown, 
was in the vicinity of Russellville, Kentucky. Evidently, the rebel 
commander was given to understand that there were no Federals 
nearer than Bowling Green, 30 miles away, and that these forces 

48 To use the well-chosen language of Catherine Merrill: "Morgan was at home 
everywhere. He entered at night the house of a friend within Federal lines, slept 
in the best bed, and departed with only a sly recognition. He walked on the streets 
of a town which was full of Federal soldiers, chaffered with the tradespeople, gave 
them a wink, and received from them the result of their observations as to the num- 
bers or movements of the enemy. He went into a Federal telegraphic office, sent 
a dispatch to a friend, or an enemy in the North, and walked off unsuspected, or 
with threats imposed silence until his safety was secured. He waylaid a train, 
destroyed the cars and took the passengers prisoners. But his most common per* 
formance was a sudden swoop on Federal pickets." Quoted in Merrill, op. cit. f p. 18. 

fiO B. Harrison to his wife, September s6, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

51 He repeats this same idea in the following letters to his wife: September 9, 19, 
so, and s6, 1862, Harrison MSS, VoL 4. 


were assigned almost exclusively to guard duty. Consequently, 
Dortch resolved to venture into Russellville "for a frolic and a 
few days rest." The only precaution he deemed necessary to pre- 
vent surprise was the burning of a little railroad bridge at Au- 
burn, 12 miles from Bowling Green. 52 

Early on the morning of the 3Oth, Bruce ordered Harrison to 
Russellville. 53 At nine o'clock, 500 men of the Seventieth Indiana 
and about one hundred from the Eighth Kentucky Cavalry and 
from Company K of the Sixtieth Indiana, all under the command 
of Colonel Harrison, tumbled into stock cars bound for Russell- 
ville. Extremely pressed for time Harrison, nevertheless, man- 
aged a short letter to Carrie: 

God bless you all and strengthen me for the duties of the day 
should I never see you and the dear children again, you must comfort 
yourself by the rich grace of God, which is all sufficient, and that the 
dear little ones be taught to meet me in heaven. Keep my memory 
green in their young hearts. Again God bless you. Yours as ever in the 
tenderest love. 54 

As the train approached the watering station at Auburn, Har- 
rison's command encountered the partially destroyed bridge that 
spanned Black Lick ravine. The enemy had been at work, but 
not too effectively. In three hours the forty-foot structure was 
fully restored. 55 While the bridge was being repaired, Colonel 
Harrison detailed several searching parties to comb the vicinity 
for information and to cut off all possible communication with 
Russellville. These squads executed their task effectively. Not 
only had two companies surrounded the village and prevented 

52 Wilbur F. Barclay, a lengthy, signed newspaper article in the Russellville 
Herald and Enterprise, April 9, 1890. 

53 Merrill, op. cit., p. 24. Colonel Bruce's information was that a new Confed- 
erate regiment was also raised at Russellville. 

W B. Harrison to his wife, October 2, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

55 in his official report to Colonel Bruce, Harrison highly commends "Captain 
Fisher of Co I. being an old railroad builder, was designated by me to superintend 
the work, and nght well did he justify the choice. In less than three houVs he had 
felled the trees, put them in their place, and laid the rail upon the superstructure 
so that ^e tram passed safely over. I cannot commend too highly the skill and in- 
dustry of Captain Fisher in so rapidly accomplishing this work without which the 

SCS? ^ J C T f faiIUre ' Captain ^ of Co - G also rende ^ va- 
able assistance in the work." A copy of this official report is in Merrill, op. cit. f pp. 


information being sent to Russellville of the Federals* nearness, 
but they had also secured a strategically valuable diagram of the 
approaches to Russellville. Before departing from Auburn, Colo- 
nel Harrison drew up a plan of attack with Captains Givens and 

In his official report to Colonel Bruce, Harrison painstakingly 
described each incident connected with this prudent reconnais- 
sance at Auburn, He had nothing but high commendation for the 
officer whom he had ordered to take a company and search thor- 
oughly the house of Captain Wood of the Confederate Army. He 
gave explicit instructions to "collect axes, tools, etc/' and to "cap- 
ture any enemies lurking thereabouts." 56 What Harrison omitted 
in his report was the fact that Wood's dwelling was large and 
full of enemies all females, the Captain being blessed with ten 
unmarried daughters. The regiment's historian was not so deli- 
cately inclined. He wrote that "the searchers were not to be en- 
vied, followed as they were from parlor to bedroom, from cellar 
to garret by beautiful anathematizing damsels." 57 

After detailing some fifty men to protect the bridge, the ex- 
pedition headed for Russellville. Within two miles of the town, 
a "negro riding furiously along the side of the track" informed 
the Colonel that "rebels were then encamped in a grove on the 
righthand side of the track . . . about four hundred strong." 58 
More important, they had had no notice of the oncoming expedi- 

This was Harrison's first opportunity to exercise his book 
knowledge of military tactics. He threw off four companies under 
Major Vance on the left of the road. They were to come in on the 
rear of the town and block any attempted retreat. The youthful 
Colonel ordered the train to advance with the remainder of his 
command to within approximately one mile of the town. Here, 
as he related to his wife, 

I threw off the residue of my troops, and turning off to the right 
of the railroad, through a cornfield, I deployed Co. A, Capt. Scott, as 
skirmishers, and advanced cautiously toward the rebel camp. 59 

se Harrison to Bruce, October i, 1862, cited in Merrill, op. eft., p. 25. 

57 Ibid. 

58 B. Harrison to his wife, October 3, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

59 Ibid. 


At what he deemed the proper moment, Harrison gave the 
order to advance and open fire. The attacking Hoosier battle line 
swept forward and fired briskly. The astonished foe could direct 
only a feeble return volley before they beat a hasty and confused 
retreat. Many attempted to flee through the town of Russellville 
and thus effect an escape by the back roads. Here they met Ma- 
jor Vance's command, which "opened upon them hotly in the 
streets." 60 

At the close of their first actual engagement, they were not 
ashamed of their record. They had "killed thirty five and wound- 
ed many more." The Seventieth suffered one casualty, but "took 
the rebel camp, forty-five good horses, about fifty guns, mostly 
short guns, a large number of saddles and other accoutrements 
too numerous to mention, besides a dozen prisoners," 61 

After Major Vance had successfully completed his assignment 
he joined Harrison, who now had possession of the public square 
and the main buildings of Russellville. Pickets were posted and 
squads detailed to search certain houses where escaped rebels 
were reported by Negroes to be in hiding. Harrison, accompanied 
by Captain Morrow, took personal charge of one of the search- 
ing parties, and thereby hangs an interesting tale nowhere to be 
found in the Colonel's official account to Bruce. 

In his report to Colonel Bruce, Harrison devotes only one line 
to the results achieved by his searching party: "I succeeded in 
capturing ten prisoners, which number would have been largely 
increased, but night coming on, further search became imprac- 
ticable." 62 Fast-approaching darkness, however, was only a partial 
explanation of why the search had to be abandoned. The remain- 
ing part of the story, and perhaps the most interesting section of 
it, was not revealed until almost a quarter of a century later. 

Colonel Harrison had been informed that a Southern sympa- 

80/feicf. According to the official report, "Vance's troops caught sight of the flee- 
ing rebels and were brought forward by the Major on the double quick, each com- 
pany taking a different street, all debouching into that upon which the rebels were 
retreating. As the broken squads of rebel horsemen passed the posts of the respec- 
tive companies they delivered their fire with great steadiness and precision, killing 
and wounding a large number." Merrill, op. cit., p. 29. 

l B. Harrison to his wife, October 3, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

62 Harrison to Colonel Bruce, October i, 1862, in Merrill, op. cit., p. 30. 


thizer named Dr. Barnes was responsible for burning the bridge 
at Auburn. Moreover, Addison Cash, a free Negro, gave Harrison 
to understand that Dr. Barnes had directly aided Captain Dortch 
and that this gentleman was now being harbored at Russellville 
by a rich and sympathetic Southern matron. Inasmuch as the doc- 
tor was a civilian, this charge was a serious one. If he were caught, 
"it subjected him to trial by court martial, and probable immedi- 
ate execution under military law/' 63 Thus was precipitated a 
struggle of wits. The young colonel wanted no mistakes made in 
this inquiry. He chose Captain Morrow, well known in Russell- 
ville and extremely familiar with the lay of the land, as his com- 
panion in the search. Harrison also took personal charge of the 
party which rapidly approached Aunt Lucy Blakely's house, the 
suspected refuge of Dr. Barnes. 

Dr. Barnes, a man of high intelligence, clearly understood the 
seriousness of the charge against him. While in hiding on the 
outskirts of the town, he was alerted to the fact that Harrison was 
pursuing him. Doubting the security of his first sanctuary, Barnes 
hastily mounted a swift horse and made a dash for freedom. Al- 
most immediately, he found himself trapped by Union troops 
coming from the opposite direction. He dismounted and finally 
reached the door of a mansion where he begged for asylum. Aunt 
Lucy, the owner of the house, was absent, but her Cousin Lou, 
acting mistress of the estate and a loyal supporter of Jefferson 
Davis, quickly extended welcome. She told Dr. Barnes to hide 
under the raspberry bushes. "When night comes, I will send for 
your horse and you can escape." 

Within the hour, Colonel Harrison's band of searchers, in- 
formed by Negro servants of Barnes's hideout, rode up and the 
Colonel addressed one of the household maids: "Girl, have you 
seen Dr. Barnes come in here?" 

"Sir," snapped the lady of the house before the servant girl 
could find her tongue, "I have not lived in the North where I sup- 
pose you were reared, and I do not know what is considered good 

63 Russellville Herald and Enterprise, April 9, 1890. The remainder of this 
story as told in the following pages is based exclusively on the newspaper account. 
Even if it were apocryphal (there is no evidence that it is), the tale is sufficiently 
characteristic to merit inclusion in this work. The traits of Harrison manifest in 
this incident occur again and again, and can be well substantiated by evidence in 
the Harrison MSS. 


breeding there, but we of the South would consider it grossly 
improper to interrogate a servant in the presence of her mistress 
without at least asking leave." 

"I beg your pardon, Madame," stammered Harrison, bowing 
and coloring deeply, "I intended no disrespect. I did not see you 
standing at the door when I called the girl, and in my haste to 
obtain the information I desire I cannot stand much upon cere- 

Harrison's reference to ceremony was, in one sense, his undo- 
ing. Cousin Lou admitted later: "I saw from the manner and 
tone of the speaker that I had a gentleman to deal with, and I 
took courage. My plan of action was now quickly formed. I would 
engage him in conversation, and keep him there as long as pos- 
sible, and if I could not baffle him entirely, I would trust to 
Providence to bring deliverance out of delay." 

"Indeed, Sir," Cousin Lou began, "can a gentleman ever afford 
to waive that ceremony which affects the rights of ladies upon any 
plea of urgency?" Without waiting for an answer, Cousin Lou 
added, pretending not to have heard Harrison's original question 
to her maid: "I suppose you are seeking something to eat like the 
rest of your men. If you will come in, I will have something pre- 
pared for you. If any one is excusable for a breach of etiquette, it 
is a hungry man, and if mending your appetite will mend your 
manners, I shall be happy to perform that service for you. That 
is, I will feed you, if there is anything left. We cooked two days 
for Captain Dortch, and your men got that; and now two of them 
are in the kitchen helping themselves to what is left. But I think 
I can find something for you, if you will come in." 

The colonel bit his lip in vexation. "Madame, we are not a 
foraging party. We are seeking Dr. Barnes and we desire to learn 
whether he is in your house. As I am not permitted to inquire of 
the girl, may I ask you, Madame, if he is here?" 

Cousin Lou proceeded to accommodate Colonel Harrison, but 
in her own tantalizing way. "Oh, ask your questions where you 
think you will be more likely to get a truthful answer. I waive 
ceremony. Ask the girl by all means." Whereupon, Louise, the 
frightened maid, was directed to "answer the gentleman's ques- 
tions." The girl was already in a state of panic and, when pressed 
by Harrison, her invariable response to each question was: " To' 

de Lawd. Miss Trm. T rW IrnrvcAr rmf-hin 1 'K/vi7* ; " Ac tTi-r^es^ 


hesitated in his questioning, Cousin Lou broke in: "Louise, did 
Dr. Barnes come in here?" With stereotyped accuracy the maid's 
answer was " To* de Lawd, Miss Lou, I do' knownuthin' 'bout it." 
And that was all that could be got out of her. 

After she had won this round in her strategic battle with the 
military inquirers, Cousin Lou decided to rub a little salt into 
their wounds. "Well, gentlemen, is there anything more I can do 
for you? It is not my custom to entertain visitors at the front gate. 
Walk in, gentlemen, rest and refresh yourselves. I think there is 
wine cake on the sideboard." 

"Thank you, Madame," the slightly exasperated Northern 
leader gravely responded. "Our business is too pressing to per- 
mit such an indulgence. I beg pardon, Madame, but you must 
allow me to renew the question I asked you awhile ago. Dr. 
Barnes has committed a flagrant breach of military law, and we 
must secure his person. I have good reason to believe he is se- 
creted in your house. I demand to know if that is true." 

With an air of cunning, the lady not only insisted that Harri- 
son had been misinformed, but also that she did not intend to 
have her house searched. According to her story, the house was 
to enjoy immunity from search. She told Harrison: "Aunt Lucy 
Blakely has promised me, in return for favors rendered to her 
when the Confederates occupied Russellville, that Federals 
should never search my house; and she has given orders to that 
effect to Capt. Morrow. If he were here, he would tell you so." 
Cousin Lou feigned not to recognize Morrow who was standing 
at Harrison's side. She claimed she saw from Morrow's expres- 
sion that he assented, and would be a witness, if necessary. Evi- 
dently, the good Captain Morrow was under some obligation to 
Aunt Lucy, who was the wife of the leading Union figure in 
southern Kentucky. Her influence was all-powerful. 

She asked the unbelieving colonel: "Do you suppose that I 
would take the risk of having a fugitive caught in my house under 
such circumstances? Do I not know what the consequences would 
be to me and to my husband? Call me a rebel, sir, but do not call 
me an idiot." 

"But, Madame," said the colonel, with a significant judicial 
emphasis, "you may not know the facts. Dr. Barnes was seen to 
enter your gate, and we must have him." 

"Sir," replied Cousin Lou, primly, "I am a Christian woman. 


From my childhood I have been taught to speak the truth, and 
to dread the fate of liars. I tell you once more, Dr. Barnes is not 
in my house and you must believe me." 

With this chance mention of religion and Christianity, Harri- 
son started down the road of the vanquished. "I, also," he said 
in a more cordial tone, "profess to be a Christian, I have long 
been a member of the church, but military duty" 

"What church?" 

'1 am a Presbyterian, Madame." 

"Presbyterian!" sputtered Cousin Lou. "The Presbyterians are 
sound on perseverance, but they have no right to ignore the plain 
commands of the Bible." 

"Indeed, Madame, and what is the great sin of omission of 
which we are guilty?" His look of annoyance gave way to one of 
amused surprise at the turn the conversation had taken. 

"Why, Sir, your church does not practice baptism." 

"Your mistake," replied the colonel, who had behind him six 
years of Sunday School experience, "no unbaptized person is ad- 
mitted into the Presbyterian Church, and most of our members 
are baptized in infancy." There was a merry twinkle in the eyes 
of this elated elder when he mentioned infants. Such a show of 
interest and enjoyment convinced Cousin Lou that for once at 
least a baptismal controversy would serve a good purpose. 

"Infant baptisml Why, Sir, I will go and get my Bible, and if 
you will show me a single passage where infant baptism is taught, 
I will take my bonnet and join you in this search for Dr. Barnes." 
Before the Colonel could make his protest against further delay, 
Cousin Lou hurried off to the house. Later she said she believed 
that Harrison would not violate the truce by entering the yard 
in her absence. Having remained in the house as long as she 
dared, the self-appointed Scripture expert returned, Bible in 

After a long and learned exchange of Biblical quotations, dur- 
ing which Cousin Lou stretched time by reading aloud entire 
chapters, Harrison became restless. "Your arguments are doubt- 
less all right, Madame, but I did not come here to argue about 
baptism. My business is to find Dr. Barnes. He was seen to enter 
your yard. I must have him." 

There was no budging Cousin Lou. "Well, gentlemen, if you 
will not come in, I must ask you to excuse me, as I have some 


household duties to perform." With a low and graceful bow 
the victor closed the gate, deliberately secured the latch. As she 
walked towards the house, she heard Colonel Harrison's squad 
go away. 

Her job was all but completed. The doctor was still hiding in 
the garden when she took him some wine, and told him what 
time the horse would be ready for him. As the appointed hour 
approached, Cousin Lou drew her last herring across the Union 
trail. She instructed her personal maid Dinah to pick up a rooster 
and make him squawk as loud as she could. This would help 
drown any noise of clatter at the gate or the horse's hoofs on the 
pike. This last ruse was as successful as the others and the doctor 
made his escape. 

After their first taste of victory at Russellville, a general sense 
of confidence and satisfaction pervaded the ranks. Harrison let it 
be known about Bowling Green that his men were justified in 
being "pleased with our success." The military and tactical mis- 
takes which he had noted were caused by excessive generosity 
and enthusiasm. Hence, he confided to his wife: 

The Regiment did splendidly, except that there was not as much 
order as I would have liked in marching to the line of battle . . . there 
being a little too much eagerness to get into the fight. 64 

To curb and channel the regiment's spirit of bravery was a much 
more pleasant task than attempting to create fortitude and gen- 
erosity in hearts that might have been cowardly and selfish. Har- 
rison also revealed a note of personal satisfaction because "he had 
made some credit with the regiment in the fight." While the re- 
sults achieved at Russellville were good, two subsequent expedi- 
tions to that area were fruitless. "The rebels in the place fled 
before we got there," he regretfully told Carrie. 

This surge of consolation had run its course within three short 
weeks of the Russellville triumph. The intervening period saw 
repeated and rather intense efforts to capture Morgan, or at least 
some part of his marauding cavalry. Each try failed. Always, the 
more swiftly moving enemy eluded carefully planned traps. It 
was at the end o these futile attempts that Harrison, "having 

64 B. Harrison to his wife, October 3, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


spent two whole nights riding on an engine," put his finger on 
the heart of the difficulty-an inadequate cavalry force. "It is 
shameful that we have not a cavalry force dashing enough to pur- 
sue and capture the scoundrel/' 65 

Toward the latter part of October, however, the perennial 
problem of the elusive Morgan and of the sporadic raids by his 
command assumed a minor significance when compared with the 
trouble and discontent brewing on the home front. Throughout 
the nation, but especially in Indiana, a political battle was taking 
place in which "a vindicated, indignant, and almost revengeful 
Democracy was pitted against a humiliated and bitterly disap- 
pointed Republican-dominated Union Party." 66 This political 
death struggle had ramifications and repercussions in all walks of 
life. Benjamin Harrison, who was far removed at Bowling Green, 
and whose physical appearance with "long hair, whiskers and a 
moustache of very savage proportions" 67 would have made him 
almost unrecognizable in Indianapolis, suddenly found himself 
the subject of a violent political and legal dispute. He was seri- 
ously threatened with the loss of his office as Supreme Court 

This move to oust Harrison and deprive him of its income, 
despite the fact that he had appointed John Caven as his deputy, 
was not unforeseen. As early as August 22, when he had been at 
Bowling Green but one week, Colonel Harrison was informed 
that the Indiana Democrats were instituting court action to have 
his elective office declared vacant because he now held a lucrative 
office, 68 a colonel's commission in the U. S. Army. In anticipation 
of a court ruling to this effect, the Democrats decided to nominate 
Michael Kerr, the opponent whom Harrison had soundly de- 
feated in 1860, as Court Reporter. 

This news was shocking enough to Ben, who relied heavily 
upon this source of income for his family's support. The mere 
possibility of losing out worried him, though he felt confident 

65 B. Harrison to his wife, October 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

66 Kenneth M. Stampp, Indiana Politics during the Civil War, p. 158. 

67 B. Harrison to his wife, October 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

68 in Kerr v. Jones (19 Indiana Reports 351) Judge Perkins actually decided the 
case upon the fact that Benjamin Harrison was not a Colonel in the militia, but a 
colonel in the army of the U. S. Therefore, he held two lucrative offices simultane- 
ously and this contravened the State Constitution of Indiana. Either his colonelcy 
or his reportership had to be abandoned. 


that the Republicans of Indianapolis would stand by him and 
see him through this legal difficulty. 69 It is not difficult to imagine 
his chagrin when the Union Central Committee of the Republi- 
can Party not only failed to support his claims, 70 but even by- 
passed Caven, the deputy whom he had selected and employed. 71 
The Committee agreed to a coalition candidate, a certain "Pop- 
Gun" Smith, to contest the office with the Democrat Kerr. Ben 
got his first intimations of this move from the pages of the Indi- 
anapolis Daily Journal on August 22, 1862. He wrote to Carrie: 

I see by the Journal of yesterday that the Union Central Com- 
mittee has nominated "Pop Gun" Smith for Reporter. I think this 
is shameful treatment . . . they are only too glad to sacrifice me to 
help the prospects of their own election by putting on the ticket an- 
other Democrat. . . . The cowardly rascals make some present advan- 
tage by this, but I am willing to trust God and the honest people, 
while I am found in the discharge of my duty. 72 

As for the office itself and its honors and emoluments, Harrison 
was willing to let these go, he added, provided only he could keep 
the consciousness that he was "rendering a humble service to my 
country in this hour of her sore trial." Ben looked at the problem 

If God spares my life to return home again to civil life, I shall not 
fear that He will enable me to gain as much competence. I hope, 
however, to make out of the office yet enough to pay for my house 
and lot, and can readily do so, if my friends at home will only aid 
me a little in getting two volumes out. 

Three weeks had slipped by in which Colonel Harrison's time 
was "constantly occupied with matters of discipline, drill and 

69 B. Harrison to his wife, August 23, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, and more ex- 
plicitly in Harrison to W. P. Fishback, September 7, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol 4. 

70 W. P. Fishback to Harrison, August 25, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, "You have 
probably heard already that the Central Committee placed the name of Smith of 
Fort Wayne on the state ticket for Reporter. The members here, three in number, 
voted for Caven, in accordance with your suggestion, but the eight other members 
controlled the selection. I suspect that other members on the ticket suggested the 
matter . . . the argument smells somewhat of the trickery of [Jonathan] Harvey." 

71 "Say to John Caven that I do not ask and will not have his labor without a 
fair compensation, and he must get from the proceeds of the work what will fairly 
remunerate him." B. Harrison to W. P. Fishback, September 7, 1862, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 4. 

72 B. Harrison to his wife, August 23, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


study of tactics." 73 Though his light was usually the last to be 
extinguished, he was unable to answer any letters. Consequently, 
the Reporter matter went from bad to worse. In a letter to his 
law partner, he admitted that he still "felt a great deal of disap- 
pointment at the realization of the loss of an office which had 
been so pleasant and profitable . . . just when I was beginning to 
realize its benefits ____ I would not feel so much anxiety about it, 
but ... it is vital to me and my dear little family." 74 

Despite Governor Morton's promise of assistance, 75 Harrison 
became exceedingly worried as the October state elections drew 



This unhappy combination of financial worry and military re- 
sponsibility rested heavily with Harrison. Yet, after three months 
of growth in his new profession of soldier, he was a wiser and most 
certainly a much more mature person because of the experience 
he had undergone during the discharge of duty in the field. His 
losses, he reflected, were 

Only apparent and not real. And this reflection never fails to com- 
fort me when I feel sad ... and to remove all gloomy apprehensions 
of the course I have taken . . . and regrets are the source of most of 
our sorrows. 76 

Although "the fire in the rear" 77 was beginning to burn bright- 
ly as the winter of 1862 approached, and Indianapolis looked for 
a counter-revolution to be inaugurated at home by the newly 

73 B. Harrison to W. P. Fishback, September 7, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. Ben 
had received two important letters from Fishback on the subject, but could not find 
time to answer either of them. 

75 Harrison wrote to Fishback: "The Governor told me that he would do just as 
I wanted . . . and I have no doubt that he will." Ibid. Will Wallace, however, had 
no faith in Morton. Will Wallace to Harrison, Nov. 6, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
As matters turned out, Wallace's judgment was more accurate than Harrison's. 

77 This was a popular expression among Unionists during the fall and winter of 
1863, the term "fire" referring, of course, principally to the Democracy of the North- 
west, and secondarily to all opponents of the war. William Wallace to Benj. Harri- 
son, October 30, i86s, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4: "I am clearly of the opinion that it 
would have been better for the country had a draft been resorted to. By this means 
there would not have been left a fire in our rear almost as much to be dreaded as 
the fire on the front." See also Wood Gray, The Hidden Civil War, p. 18, where he 
describes Senator Sumner's interview with Lincoln in the black winter of i86: 
"The President tells me he now fears 'the fire in the rear'." 


entrenched Democrats, 78 there was one fact Harrison could not 
forget either now or during the rest of his life. For, as Fishback 
had put it, "only the loyal and the patriotic are in the army . . . 
an element that can scourge from the face of the earth the traitors 
at home should it become necessary." 79 

78 Fishback wrote to Harrison on October 16, 1862: "our danger now is at home 
. . . [disloyal] men feel their power in numbers, and you must not be surprised if the 
counter revolution is inaugurated at home." Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

79 Ibid. 


On Secessionist Ground: 
The War in Tennessee 

A THOUGH Colonel Harrison's regiment had marched into 
the heart of the Confederacy in response to frantic de- 
mands for fresh troops to defend Kentucky against Bragg, 
its only claim to fame, so far, was from several moderately suc- 
cessful forays at Franklin, Morgantown, Munfordsville and Rus- 
sellville. 1 During the last months of 1 862, the men faced a danger- 
ous enemy, not on the battlefields of Kentucky, but on the home- 
front in Indianapolis. Harrison soon discovered that several 
Southern sympathizers in and about Indianapolis were conduct- 
ing an effective epistolary campaign among some of the members 
of his regiment. Every artifice was employed to encourage both 
disobedience and desertion from the Union ranks. This home- 
front attempt to sabotage the ranks was a serious matter, which 
grew proportionately as the South became more stubborn in the 
defense of its rights, and as the casualty lists on both sides length- 
ened. 2 

Especially at the time of the state elections in October many 
doubts beset the people of Indiana. Old political loyalties were 
resurrected, and men publicly denounced the "unjust" war. A 
draft was announced, postponed, and announced again, while 
the Democrats electioneered with a newly discovered vigor, 3 

1 General Harrison to General E. A. Carman, February 8, 1876, Harrison MSS 
\ ol. 7. In response to General Carman's request of January 10, 1876, Harrison wrote 
a summary of the Seventieth's war service. It is detailed and concise, and was pre- 
a * ** "* ** Carman ' S ^^ of the 2oth Army Corps, under 

2 John B. Martin, Indiana; an Interpretation, p. 61 

iLT^ 1 115 f ** Indiana P lis D *y Sentinel were filled with reports and 
w T^ nZ? , n / unco f titutional ity of drafting men to fight in an unjust 

S ?nvT ^ madC mUCh f the dvil liberties ar S^nt. They complained 
that Governor Morton was trampling on civil liberties at every chance. Also see 
martin, ov* ctt^ D. 62. 

Martin, op. cit., p. 6s. 



They claimed to stand for constitutional liberty, freedom of 
opinion, of speech and of press, which, they clamored, had been 
trodden under foot. In reality, they were opposed to the war, and 
on election day they carried the state by a majority of almost 
10,000, electing seven out of eleven Congressmen as well as both 
houses of the Legislature. Undoubtedly, this repudiation of Re- 
publicanism can be set down as a positive reaction against the 
war. Democrats had repeatedly asserted that this was an "aboli- 
tion war;" 4 and on September 22, when Lincoln finally yielded 
to radical pressure and issued his preliminary proclamation of 
emancipation, the reaction of Indiana was overwhelmingly hos- 
tile. 5 Even Governor Morton's pronouncement that the Presi- 
dent's act was nothing more than a "stratagem of war" 8 failed to 
pour oil on the troubled political waters. A majority of the In- 
dianans had not put aside old prejudices and dislike of the Negro 
and the Black Republicans who were now self-confessed aboli- 

The election had a disastrous personal result for Harrison. 
Kerr, the Democrat, was victorious for the office of Reporter. 
Fishback wrote: "Caven thinks the Supreme Court will oust you 
... if we contest the point, Kerr will claim Volume 18 now in 
progress. If Pop Gun had been elected, I think the Court would 
have left you in without doubt." 7 Actually, within a month, Kerr 
claimed the proceeds from Volume 17 as well as Volume 18 of 
the Reports. Ben wrote to Carrie: "I would like to give M. Kerr 
a caning better than anything I know of." 8 

It was against this background of political change that Harri- 
son first detected the spirit of unrest among his own troops. The 
propaganda campaign on the home-front had its effect in the 
camp at Bowling Green. Almost daily, some of the boys received 
letters calculated to make them desert the colors either on the 
score that the war was unjust or that they had never been properly 

4 J. P. Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, I, 230-31. 

5 Kenneth M. Stampp, Indiana Politics during the Civil War, pp. 147-48: "The 
immediate hostile reaction in Indiana promised to validate Secretary Smith's warn- 
ing that the measure would certainly cause the Republicans to lose his state." 
Actually, "most of the Hoosiers were not inclined at that time to accept the measure 
upon any grounds." 

6 Indianapolis Daily Journal, October 10, 1862. 

7 W. P. Fishback to B. Harrison, October 17, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

8 B. Harrison to his wife, November 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


mustered into the service of the United States Army. 9 So effective 
was the campaign that a loyalty crisis was being precipitated. 

Several enlisted men bitterly resented this sniping by Copper- 
heads who were staying safely at home. Harrison was quick to 
capitalize on the indignation. His first move was to call a mass 
meeting of his entire regiment and to ask General Paine to pre- 
side. This was a wise choice. Men applauded generously, as 
speakers rivaled each other in proclaiming loyalty to the Union 
cause. As the junior officer on the platform, Colonel Harrison 
made the concluding address. That he was at the tail end of a 
long program of speech-making made little difference to him. 
Here was a real opportunity to show that he was a leader of men, 
not merely one in the ranks. With a pent-up fervor Harrison 
lashed out at the dishonesty of the letter-writers, and immedi- 
ately "riveted the attention of that mass of men, held it undi- 
vided for about an hour, and was cheered vociferously when he 
closed." 10 

The regiment's sagging morale was bolstered and the colonel 
climbed immeasurably in the esteem of his own men. No sooner 
had he finished his remarks than General Paine walked over to 
Captain Samuel Merrill; and, slapping the younger man on the 
back, he exclaimed: "By George, Captain, that Colonel of yours 
will be President of the United States some day." 11 

A false report had also circulated in the Indianapolis press that 
sickness had removed more than half the regiment from active 
service. While Harrison felt that he could cope with the bad feel- 
ing created by communications from home, he worried because 
"dysentery, measles and some typhoid fever are disabling many of 
my men." 12 It was under these circumstances of doubt, discontent 
and physical suffering that the fires of disloyalty burned most 
brightly within certain companies. Officers were charged with 
having little sympathy for the men; and some of the men them- 

9 In a letter dated Bowling Green, Ky., November 10, 1862, that appeared four 
days later in the Daily Sentinel, one paragraph read: "There has been a great deal of 
excitement at camp during the past few days. It seems that the Regiment has never 
been mustered into the United States service ... the boys say they are going home 

to be mustered in 1 will not say what the reasons are for being dissatisfied, for 

that would bring some of the leading officers bad repute." Also see B. R. Sulgrove, 
History of Indianapolis and Marion County (Philadelphia, 1884), p. 317. 

10 Samuel Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 49. 

11 Freeman Cleaves, Old Tippecanoe, p. 123. 

12 B. Harrison to his wife, October 17, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


selves were easily convinced that they were free to leave the army, 
since, it was alleged, they had not been properly mustered into 
service. Others of a more skeptical nature wrote to "eminent 
lawyers in Indiana concerning the matter." 18 

At first, Harrison was patient in his efforts to bolster the spirits 
of a regiment partially torn with sickness, and understandably, 
as he thought, discontented with their inglorious role of inac- 
tivity. He labored diligently to have his unit assigned to an active 
brigade. His heart was set on moving south and on to the field of 
battle. Though the winter of 1862-63 was hard, he confided his 
secret ambition to his wife: 

I am myself willing to put away the thought of winter quarters 
and be kept in active operations in the field, if we can be used effec- 
tively against the enemy I am for the most active and continuous 

fighting. Let us fight them today, tomorrow and the next day and 
every day until they are killed and captured, and the sham confidence 
for which they are fighting, is only remembered as a horrible dream 
in history. 14 

These efforts were actually misconstrued by some of the men 
in his outfit. One wrote to the Sentinel that "Harrison thinks, 
doubtless, that if he gets us in a division that he can make us 
soldiers whether we are mustered, paid or clothed; but he will 
find out before we go far, that we are unwilling to serve under 
him until we are mustered in." 15 Views such as these, and the 
ever-present knowledge that they were originated by people at 
home, caused him to unloose a volley of vituperation: 

We feel real malicious towards the traitorous and cowardly scoun- 
drels who not only refused to share with us the perils and glories of 
our dear country's service, but extend sympathy and encouragement 
to the red-handed traitors of the South who are seeking ours and our 
country's life. Most earnestly do I pray God to turn away the sword 
and faggot from our dear state and dear homes, but at the same time 
we are ready to meet the enemies of our country even in Indiana, 
"with bloody hands and hospitable graves." ... I have some hope, 
though it is faint, that those who have now attained power, may, 
when they feel the public responsibility upon them, laboriously main- 
tain the war. Should they fail to do so, they will soon perish before 

13 Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, November 14, 1862. 

14 B. Harrison to his wife, October 17, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
is Picket (Co. A) to the Editor of the Sentinel, November 14, 1862. 


the avenging breath of a million veteran soldiers of liberty, who have 
sworn to defend the government against all her enemies and opposers. 
... I turn away from thoughts so agonizing. 16 

Fortunately for the colonel's reputation, one of his own officers, 
his brother-in-law Captain Scott, was in Indianapolis on leave 
just when the spirit of rebellion in the Seventieth was being aired 
in the press. Not only did Scott readily prove that all the charges 
against Harrison and the officers of the regiment were "in toto 
untrue," but he also made a special point of defending his su- 
perior officer: 

Among the unkindest charges was the one against Col. Harrison, 
that he was trying to get our regiment to move with the army, think- 
ing that he could make us soldiers in this way whether mustered, 
paid or clothed. I venture the assertion that there has never been an 
officer more zealous than Col. Harrison in having his regiment prop- 
erly clothed and equipped, sending two daily messengers to the city 
for oil-cloth blankets, one to Louisville for over-coats, and laboring 
in season and out of season to have his command comfortable and 
happy. He labored, it is true, to get his command to move, but it was 
to leave a town now rendered a pest house with the sick of our great 
army . , . 5,000 strong ... in 20 hospitals. 17 

While the war on the home-front was being hotly waged, the 
military were in a confused state. No clear-cut plan of campaign 
was executed by either side. 18 Though the Confederate Braxton 
Bragg seemed on the point of taking Louisville as late as mid- 
September, he allowed himself to be diverted, and swung his 
columns toward Lexington. On the other hand, General Buell, 19 
who had promptly occupied Louisville, performed no signal serv- 
ice until the campaign was climaxed by the battle of Perryville 20 
on October 8, 1862. Yet, even this battle could not be counted 

i B. Harrison to his wife, October 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
* I7 ? pt ; H " M * SC U to the Editor of the ^dianapolis Daily Journal, November 
fete cha' ** ffiCer f thC regiment ' Scott nid he felt caDfid u P n to ^fute the 

is James G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 526. 
r Jnt^ SU ^ nS Sherman in November, 1861, as commander of the Army of 

?v SS,? J T ngCd and devdoped t into a u-**plined fighting machine. 
Even Williams, whose standards for commanders are highways, op cit II 478-^ 
was an accomplished soldier in many ways." 7 P 47 

20 Randall, op. eft, p. 527. 


as a clear victory for either side. Perhaps the only gratification 
was the report that the Confederates had decided to abandon 

When the Confederates actually began their withdrawal to 
Tennessee, Harrison's hopes skyrocketed. Now, an early move- 
ment southward was probable, with chances for real fighting 
imminent. When Washington determined to guillotine all 
unsuccessful generals, 21 Harrison's wishes were near fulfill- 
ment. Buell's failure 22 to anticipate Bragg's invasion of Kentucky 
as well as his neglect in pursuing the confederate general after 
Perryville, brought his removal from the command of the De- 
partment of the Ohio. 23 He was succeeded by General William S. 

With this new appointment Harrison and his men were ex- 
tremely pleased. The order which placed Rosecrans in command 
also created the Department of the Cumberland, embracing that 
portion of the state of Tennessee lying east of the Tennessee 
River, and such parts of Georgia and Alabama as should be oc- 
cupied by Federal troops. 24 The Seventieth Indiana, as well as 
every other regiment in the field, needed no briefing on the 
strategy underlying this general reorganization of the western 
forces. Even the rawest recruit realized that a big push into the 
deep South was in the offing, and Harrison's Hoosiers hoped to 
play a significant part. This time they were not to be disap- 

On October goth, General Rosecrans came to Louisville and 
assumed his new command, and three days later, while Colonel 
and Mrs. Harrison were enjoying their second visit together at 
Bowling Green, 25 he rode into camp. The new commander an- 
nounced a three-fold division of his army, under the command, 
respectively, of Major Generals McCook, Thomas, and Critten- 

21 Kenneth P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General, II, 477. 

22 R. V. Johnson and C. C. Buel (eds.), Battles and Leaders, III, Part i, p. 19; 
Henry M. Cist, The Army of the Cumberland (New York, 1882), pp. 76-77. 

2S Rossi ter Johnson, Campfire and Battlefield, p. 230. Stampp, op. tit., p. 160, 
declares that, "besides falling victim to civilian meddling and western discontent, 
Buell was something of a scapegoat for disappointed Union party politicians." This 
viewpoint is verified by Harrison's letter to his wife, October si, 1862, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 4. 

24 Cist, op. tit., p. 77. 

25 Will Wallace to Benj. Harrison, October 30, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


den. Three divisions were assigned to each wing, while the center 
was composed of five. Three days later, the Seventieth Indiana 
Volunteers found themselves a substantial part of the center. 
Harrison wrote: "On the loth of November, 1862 the yoth was as- 
signed to Ward's Brigade, Dumont's Division, i4th Army Corps, 
and moved with its command to Scottsville, Kentucky, and thence 
on the 24th of November to Gallatin, Tennessee." 28 

The three-day march from Bowling Green to Scottsville, Ken- 
tucky, was made through a 

country destitute of any respectable improvement and seemingly in- 
capable of any. . . * We saw very few houses and they were the make- 
shifts of the frontier. Every now and then we would pass a cow path 
coming out from the thick woods and thicker underbushes about 
which would be collected fifteen or twenty children who must have 
been startled from a bed of leaves by the rattle of our drums. They 
gazed with rustic wonder on the troops as they passed, and thought 
they had never seen such multitudes on multitudes of soldiers. 27 

Captain Merrill later related that 

in the inarch he [Harrison] was always merciful, protesting against 
unnecessary haste. Frequently he would take the guns and accoutre- 
ments of some poor worn out soldier and carry it before him on the 
saddle. Often I have seen him dismount and walk while a sick soldier 
occupied his place on the horse. 28 

Many of the men were still on the sick list; some, scarcely able to 
walk. Harrison "walked fully one half the distance" 29 to Scotts- 

26 Harrison to General E. A. Carman, February 8, 1876, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 
General Dumont, Harrison's new division commander, was a personal friend. He 
had served with distinction as Lieut. Colonel of the Fourth Indiana Volunteers in 
the Mexican War, was elected to Congress in October, 1862, and re-elected in 1864. 
Sulgrove, op. eft., pp. 308-12. 

27 B. Harrison to his wife, November 11, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

28 Indianapolis Journal, June 29, 1888. 

29 This was not an uncommon experience. In later years, several members of his 
regiment recalled such kindness. Dan Ransdell, ex-county clerk and a member of 
the Seventieth, not only recalled seeing Harrison dismount and march, but claimed: 
"I remember once he did me that kindness. I have always loved him and admired 
him, and I might say that I have always insisted that he would be one day President 
of these United States." An unidentified newspaper clipping in Harrison Scrap- 
book Series, Vol. 6, Harrison MSS. This story was also reprinted in a campaign 
pamphlet, Public and Private Life of Gen'l. Benj. Harrison, p. 15. 


ville. This example was not lost upon most of the staff members, 
who perforce, followed suit, 30 thus boosting the morale of the 
regiment and winning the respect and admiration of their sub- 
ordinates. Ben confided to Carrie: 

I think, though no such motive prompted the act, that this cause 
has enlarged my popularity with the men. They begin to see that I 
will sacrifice at any time my own comfort for their good. 31 

Arrival at Scottsville, however, brought little consolation. The 
thought in most minds was that of moving further south as soon 
as possible. The area around the town struck Benjamin Harrison 
as "one of the most desolate and barren portions of the world" 
with the "produce of the country . . . completely exhausted." 32 
Due to the very limited opportunities that this sector offered 
for drill, both officers and men soon grew tired of lying about 
camp. 83 This enforced inactivity allowed more than ample time 
for speculation as to future movements; and just before Rose- 
crans instructed General Thomas to advance Dumont's division 
to Gallatin, Tennessee, 84 Harrison had written home that "there 
is some talk about reorganizing our brigadiers and putting us in 
another brigade and giving the command of it to me." 35 Realiz- 
ing that he was still untested by real fighting in the field, and still 
lacked that quality of self-confidence so essential to a successful 
commander, Harrison showed little interest in the suggested pro- 
motion. He mulled over the matter and entrusted his conclusion 
to his wife: 

so One did not. This drew Harrison's critical fire: "the Major rode his horse 
all the way, and had besides two wheeled vehicles with his traps and his negroe 
driving it, ... he is a very selfish man and the officers are finding him out and 
laugh a good deal at his disposition to grasp everything he can get his hands on." 
Harrison to his wife, November 14, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

82 Harrison to his wife, November 18, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
35 The complaint was that there was no field of level ground within miles that 
was large enough to move even a regiment. Ibid. 

34 Cist, op. cit., p. 77. General S. S. Fry was also to join Dumont with his divi- 
sion in order to "push rapidly forward the repairs of the railroad to Nashville." 

35 Harrison to his wife, November* 18, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. The basis for 
this talk seems to be that his unit "takes the shine of all the brigade in mounting, 
in dress parade and ... in battalion drill." 


I am not ambitious for a high command and am perhaps a little 
lacking in confidence in my real powers ---- Gen. Ward, our brigade 
commander, is a very clever man, but has very little idea of military 
matters. 30 

Rosecrans' order of November 24th, directing Ward's brigade 
to Gallatin, ended all immediate speculation, but found the colo- 
nel of the Seventieth an uncomfortably sick man. The weather 
at Scottsville had been excessively cold and damp during the 
regiment's stay; further Harrison had eaten some fresh pork that 
induced ptomaine poisoning. On top of this misfortune came 
renewed shafts of criticism from Indianapolis. 37 

What particularly piqued Harrison was an attack in the press 
by Alexander Thuer, a member of his own company and a former 
newspaper editor. 88 Thuer said that he especially despised Har- 
rison for the religious influence that he attempted to exert in the 
regiment. It is true that Harrison had exercised such influence. 
He had often acted as chaplain. One comrade said: "He was a 
true man of old Presbyterian stock ... he was the only general 
officer I knew of at whose headquarters family prayers were regu- 
larly held/' 89 

Thoroughly disheartened and still somewhat dyspeptic, Har- 
rison lost his usual calm and self-control. After he had belatedly 
blasted his critic as a "blatant infidel," in a bitter letter to Car- 
rie, 40 he felt better. He explained other "letters to the editor" in 
the columns of the Sentinel and the Journal as coming from sol- 
diers whom he had been compelled to discipline. He was sensible 
enough to look upon these attacks "as a mode of venting their 
rage," yet his oversensitive nature rebelled at what he deemed 
rank injustice. He drew some satisfaction in tagging his press op- 
ponents as "miserable egotistic fools," and finally adopted a prac- 
tical and simple philosophy: "The day of these dogs will soon be 

id. By mid- 1863, Harrison had changed his opinion of General Ward most 

37 The violent attacks in the Indianapolis press annoyed Harrison greatly. B. 
Harrison to his wife, November 21, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

38 Thuer had been appointed by Col. Burgess as postmaster. Subsequently, he 
was removed by Harrison for drunkenness, and in his place was appointed a Mr. 
Elgin, a preacher. This appointment was the cause of Timer's vitriolic attack on 

39 Indianapolis Journal account republished on p. 14 of the campaign pamphlet. 

40 B. Harrison to his wife, November si, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


over. I know that I have the confidence and respect of every officer 
and man whose esteem is worth having." 

On the evening of November 24, 1862, in obedience to Rose- 
crans* order the regiment broke camp at Scottsville, Kentucky. 
Shortly before four A.M. on the 25th the troops were alerted, and 
while the Fortieth Brigade, 41 also part of Dumont's division, was 
getting under way, the rest of the battalion was formed in a close 
column. At this point General Dumont rode up to the Seventieth 
and made a speech which, according to one hearer, was "just such 
a one as you would expect from a Hoosier General to a Hoosier 
Regiment." 42 Upon the men this veteran of two wars urjged dis- 
cipline and subordination; with the officers he insisted upon 
promptness and firmness. Every man knew the general to be sin- 
cere when he expressed his desire to have the Seventieth remain 
with him until "peace should again smile upon the land." He 
pledged his word that, if the opportunity offered, he would lead 
them "to glory and to victory." At the conclusion of the speech, 
Harrison proposed three rousing cheers as a mutual pledge that 
they would not disappoint the expectations of their general. En- 
thusiasm ran high as the regiment began the thirty-three mile 
march to Gallatin, Tennessee. 43 

When approximately nine miles from Scottsville, the Seven- 
tieth reached the Kentucky-Tennessee line. The regiment paused 
momentarily; then, with colors flying and the band playing 
"Dixie," each company commander came forward and set foot 
on this new territory. To the accompaniment of waving hats 
and tremendous cheering, the entire regiment crossed, whistling 
"Dixie" as they marched. 44 Nine more miles were covered be- 
fore the division halted for the night. 

The intervening fifteen miles were covered leisurely on the 
26th, and at 4:00 P.M. the last of Dumont's command reached 
Gallatin, the county seat of Sumner County, located three miles 
from the Cumberland River and directly on the line of the Louis- 
ville and Nashville Railroad. Much to their good fortune and to 

41 The Fortieth Brigade was under the command of Col. O. A. Miller and was 
comprised of his regiment, the g8th Illinois as well as the 72nd and 75th Indiana 
Regiments. Cist, op. cit., p. 264. 

42 Indianapolis Daily Journal, December 6, 1862. 

43 B. Harrison to his wife, November 28, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

44 Indianapolis Daily Journal, December 6, 1862; also Merrill, op. cit., p. 46. 


the jealousy of the other troops, the Seventieth was chosen by 
General Dumont as his bodyguard and consequently was as- 
signed the best camping site near Headquarters. 

On the following day, which was Thanksgiving, Harrison, hav- 
ing duly reflected on "a rich harvest of joy ... a united family 
around our own hearthstone," rose manfully to the festive occa- 
sion and ate heartily. Shortly afterwards, with the plaintive air 
of an overstuffed schoolboy, Ben wrote to Carrie: 

Yesterday being Thanksgiving Day, the Major set out a turkey 
etc, and invited us all to dine with him which we did. Though sick 
myself, the sight of these home delicacies was too much for me and 
I went into them pretty strong. Just as we had finished, there came 
an invitation from General Ward for us all to go to his headquarters 
at 4 P.M. 45 

This letter contained several allusions to the poor state of his 

I have alluded to the condition of my health and ought perhaps to 
be more explicit, to avoid unnecessary uneasiness. I have a slight at- 
tack of yellow jaundice and feel at times very badly in body and quite 
despondent in spirit. I have dropped more than one tear since writing 
this letter and feel ashamed of their flow, but cannot dry them up. I 
am taking a blue pill every day and hope before we leave here to be 
quite well again. 

No sooner had Dumont's division taken up quarters at Gal- 
latin than the intelligence department reported a rebel con- 
centration near Murfreesboro, only a two-day march southeast of 
Nashville. This bit of news encouraged Harrison: "I am for a 
fight and go home policy." 46 But a few days later, while still wait- 
ing for fighting orders, he had to content himself with a dreamer's 
letter to Carrie, wherein he contemplated "a neat cottage home 
in which to enjoy my pension when I come home with one leg/' 
He kept his hopes high, convinced as he was that the order to 
march would come before long, and he added: "I don't care how 
soon/' His confidence was based on his belief that "we have an 

B. Harrison to his wife, November 28, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
46 Harrison to his wife, November 30, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4, 


army in the field which if skillfully led would crush the rebellion 
in 90 days, but the leader seems to be wanting." 47 

Harrison, in his prognostication that a serious engagement was 
close at hand, was entirely correct. He was wrong, however, in 
his belief that Dumont's division and his own regiment would 
share in the fighting. Just two weeks before General Rosecrans 
moved out of Nashville with 41,000 effectives to strike Bragg's 
forces near Murfreesboro, the Union general detailed Harrison's 
troops from Gallatin to Drake's Creek, from which point they 
were to guard twenty-six miles of railroad from Gallatin to Nash- 
ville. 48 

This assignment was deemed of extreme importance by Rose- 
crans, who from the first day of his command of the Army of the 
Cumberland had bent every effort to keep the Louisville and 
Nashville track in good condition. No one understood better 
than Rosecrans that Buell's most serious problem was that of 
safeguarding his communications to his base of supplies. 49 Har- 
rison, disappointed by the orders to keep this life-line open, and 
considering it a "big contract," nevertheless criticized the move as 
the "sheerest madness." 50 But there they stayed. "We are still 
encamped upon the grassy banks of this classic stream . . . doing 
little but picket and guard duty." His chief complaint was being 
"kept on a stretch of mind and body day and night." The cold 
was so penetrating that he uttered the fervent wish that his troops 
would not be "condemned to spend the winter in such service . . . 
most trying and dangerous, and at the same time the least hon- 
orable of any." 51 

Harrison even contemplated a ride to Nashville for a personal 
request to Rosecrans that he be given an opportunity to fight 
against Bragg's army. Upon reflection, however, he decided to 
wait at least until after Christmas Day. On its eve, his first away 
from home, he succeeded in putting aside all thoughts of battle, 
and wrote to Carrie one of his characteristically beautiful letters: 

. . . And this is Christinas eve; and the dear little ones are about this 
time nestling their little heads upon the pillow, filled with the high 

47 Harrison to his wife, December 4, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

48 Harrison to his wife, December 12, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

49 Cist, o. eft., p. 81. 

so Harrison to his wife, December 12, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 
61 Harrison to his wife, December 15, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 


expectations of what Santa Glaus will bring them, and Papa is not 
there. How sad and trying it is for me to be away at such a time as 
this, and yet I cannot allow my complaining spirit to possess me. 
There are tens of thousands of fathers separated like me from the 
dear ones at home, battling with us for the preservation of our noble 
government which, under God, has given us all that peace and pros- 
perity which makes our homes abodes of comfort and security. I am 
enduring very heavy trials in the army, but I believe that I was led 
to enter it by a high sense of Christian patriotism and God has thus 
far strengthened me to bear all cheerfully. I can never be too thankful 
for the heroic spirit with which you bear our separation and its in- 
cident trials and hardships. I know you must be very lonesome and 
oppressed with many anxieties, but God will give you strength to 
bear them all and will, nay I believe already has, drawn you closer to 
Himself as the source of all comfort and consolation. It is a blessed 
promise that "all things shall work together for gdbd to those who 
love God/' Let us have faith to receive the promise in all its royal 
fulness. 62 

Six days later, the engagement at Stone River (the Battle of 
Murfreesboro) began, and at Drake's Creek, forty miles away, 
concern for the outcome threw a pall over Harrison's New Year's 
Day thoughts: 

I have felt very little of that festive spirit which usually belongs to 
this day. We have heard all day, the heavy bombing of artillery in the 
direction of Nashville and the great results of which hang upon the 
battle being fought and the dreadful carnage which the day witnessed, 
only a few miles away, have sobered and even saddened my mind. 
And then we have each a brother in the fight and God knows, not we, 
what may have been the issue to them. 58 

This note to Carrie was almost a premonition; a week later he 
learned that her brother, John Scott, had been severely wounded, 
one of the exceptionally high number of casualties. 54 Ben wrote 
that he was sending "whiskey, tea and a jar of peaches" to him, 
"being all the delicacies my chest could furnish." After words of 
consolation, he admitted to Carrie: 

I almost envy John his honorable wound, and hope we may soon 
exchange the ease and quiet of our present camp for the hardship 

2 Harrison to his wife, December 24, 1862, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

fi Harrison to his wife, January i, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

>*Of Rosecrans' forces, 1,677 were killed and 7,543 wounded; Bragg lost 1,294 
killed and 7,945 wounded. Thomas L. Livennore, Numbers and Losses in the Ciml 
War in America, 1861-186$ (Boston, 1901), p. 47. 


and dangers of the field . . . not that I am ambitious of military fame, 
but because I want to feel that I am accomplishing something for the 
cause, which I sacrificed to espouse. 55 

Since Bragg was compelled to evacuate Murfreesboro and ulti- 
mately to retire from middle Tennessee, this engagement is usu- 
ally regarded as a Union triumph. As one Civil War authority 
points out, however, "the Union army which achieved the 'vic- 
tory* did not strike again for six months." 56 To Harrison the 
prospects for 1863 appeared encouraging, for he told Carrie: 

God seems to be smiling upon the efforts of our army in the West, 
and it does seem that the rebellion in that quarter is in a fair way of 
being speedily and thoroughly crushed out. If we could only hear 
more of some of the great success in the East, our cause would seem 
to be brilliant ... we must not be too much elated over our successes, 
nor think, as we have many times before, that the fighting is over and 
cause successful. There will I have no doubt be thousands of lives lost 
yet on the battlefield before all life is crushed out of this monstrous 
hydra of treason. I have no doubt that we will all see fighting enough 
before we are permitted to lay down the weapons of our warfare, and 
resume the pursuits of peace. 57 

During the first six months of 1863, the military operations of 
the Army of the Cumberland were necessarily of a minor char- 
acter, inasmuch as the exhaustion consequent upon the severe 
fighting at Stone River prevented any immediate serious offen- 
sive. The divisions were kept in camp until their respective losses 
in arms, material and men could be recouped. 68 Harrison and his 
command continued their assignment of guarding the railroad 
between Gallatin and Nashville. In mid-February they were or- 
dered to Gallatin, after which came four months in camp. What 
one correspondent from the Seventieth had said earlier still ap- 

Our Regiment has again quit traveling; again we have stopped and 
tied up at a post. Our services seem to be appreciated as guards , . . 
probably we have a talent that way, if we stay in the service long, we 
certainly will be entitled to rank as the "Old Guard/' 59 

55 Harrison to his wife, January 8, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

56 Randall, op. cit. f p. 528. 

57 Harrison to his wife, January 8, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

58 Cist, op. tit., p. 136. 

5 Bode to the Editor, Indianapolis Daily Journal, December s6, 1862. 


Lew Wallace has described these four months, for Harrison, as 
"a period . . . evenly divided between hunting guerrillas and 
drilling his men." 60 

In spite of the monotony, Ben could assure Carrie that he got 
"along with less grumbling than you would imagine." 61 An ex- 
amination of Harrison's heavy correspondence for this period 
reveals two principal reasons why he did not especially notice 
the ennui of the camp. He seems to have discovered pleasure in 
novel reading, even though he devoted a great deal of time to 
books on tactics, strategy, and the art of war in general. 

Harrison was compelled to admit that some of the observations 
by Dr. Bishop of Miami days about fiction were not entirely true. 
Not only did the colonel now deny that novel reading was "in- 
ferior and productive of evil," but he unblushingly reversed his 
collegiate conclusion that "it unfits the mind for close application 
to many subjects." Fun-loving Carrie must have chuckled as she 
read Ben's latest confidence that "in Gallatin I borrowed a large 
bound volume of Bulwer's novels and have found them very en- 
tertaining when tired of tactics and regulations." 62 Later, he 
wrote from Nashville: 

1 am fairly driven to write to you tonight by sheer loneliness. I 
bought today "Little Dorritt" [sic], and have been pouring [sic] over 
Dickens 1 description of the squalor and wretchedness of the Debtor's 
Prison, and of rainy, dripping, soggy days ... in London, which con- 
sorting with my own loneliness, the pelting rain, and sodden ground 
of my own camp has made me quite miserable. 68 

These excursions into the imaginative realm of the novel were 
rare in comparison with the almost daily drudgery of long hours 
devoted to the study of the military art. This was of his own 
choosing, and he refused General Ward's offer of a provost mar- 
shalship in order to pursue his tactical studies more closely. 64 On 
a brief trip to Louisville, he related, "I bought several military 
books 05 . . . and am engaged now in studying them. They enable 

60 Lew Wallace, Life of Gen. Ben Harrison, p. 184. 

61 Harrison to his wife, January 18, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. He was able to 
write an average of three letters a week through this year. 

02 Harrison to his wife, January 18, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

63 Harrison to his wife, October 15, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

64 Harrison to his wife, February 14, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

66 six of these are now in the library of the Harrison Memorial Home in In- 
dianapolis. They bear the inscription by Harrison: "Gallatin, Tenn., Feb. 3, 1863." 












Photograph by Matthew B. Brady Courtesy Harrison Memorial Home 


Brig. Gen. Benjamin Harrison, Maj. Gen. William Ward, and 
Brig. Gen. John Coburn 


me to spend my leisure both pleasantly and profitably." 6 * This 
resolve to master the theory and art of war, while demanding 
many hours of serious study, was not surprising to the men who 
knew Harrison best. General Wallace wrote: 

It must be remembered that he was as fresh in arms as the greenest 
man in the ranks. He was systematic and painstaking, however, and 
buckled to the mysteries of the tactical "schools," as he had in college 
days to geometry. 67 

As far as Benjamin Harrison was concerned, the master 
tactician in 1863 was Hardee, 68 and there can be no doubt that 
the latter's authoritative work, Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, 
became a second Bible in camp. Harrison's adjutant, Jim Mitch- 
ell, as well as the regiment's Lieutenant Colonel, Jim Burgess, 
each possessed copies. With unfailing regularity, these men, ac- 
companied by other staff officers, were summoned to Harrison's 
tent in the evening where he questioned them on each chapter. 
When it came to field tactics, Harrison "required them to illus- 
trate the manoeuvers upon a board, chalk in hand. 'Hardee,' was 
of course, the umpire for the settlement of questions." 69 Natu- 
rally, Harrison supplemented Hardee with the works of later 
military authorities, such as Casey's three volumes on Infantry 
Tactics. 70 

Study and instruction were not restricted to the manuals usu- 
ally prescribed. Harrison read omnivorously the accounts of the 
celebrated campaigns and battles in European as well as in Amer- 
ican history. At regimental headquarters, Modern War: Its The- 
ory and Practice by Imre Szabad (U.S A.) 71 stood side by side with 
the English translation of General de Jomini's The Political and 

66 Harrison to his wife, February 14, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. 

67 Wallace, op. cit., p. 184. 

68 This work, prepared under the direction of the War Department by Brevet 
Lieut. W. J. Hardee, was published in Philadelphia in 1855. 

69 Wallace, op. cit., p. 184. Copies belonging and inscribed to Mitchell and Bur- 
gess are now in the library of Harrison's Indianapolis Home. 

70 Published in 1862 by D. Van Nostrand, New York, "for the instruction, exer- 
cise and manoeuvers of the soldier, the company, a line of skirmishers, battalion, 
brigade or corps d'annee." 

71 Published in 1863 by Harpers, New York. A copy with the inscription, "Benj. 
Harrison, Col. 7oth Ind. Vols., Gallatin, Tenn., Feb. 3, 1863," is in Harrison's 


Military History of the Campaign of Waterloo. 72 While Schalk's 
Summary of the Art of War was widely consulted at camp, it 
ranked no higher with Harrison than de Jomini's other military 
classic, The Art of War. 

Several studies on field fortifications were also scrutinized. Per- 
haps D. H. Mahan's treatise, 74 with detailed instructions on "the 
method of laying out, constructing, defending and attacking en- 
trenchments," proved most valuable, in the light of Harrison's 
successes during the Atlanta Campaign of 1864. 

Because the sometimes "lazy, spiritless life of a garrison sol- 
dier" 75 did not agree with Harrison's habits of mind and body, 
highly geared as he was to intellectual activity as a civilian, he 
studied all the harder. By late August, his own and his com- 
mand's progress in military learning had not gone unnoticed. 
While the Seventieth was at Nashville, Major Brigney made a 
routine inspection of the entire division and let fall several re- 
marks showing that he deemed Harrison "a first rate officer 1 ' who 
"would be a Brig this fall." 76 A month later Harrison was in 
brigade school. 77 Although he confided to Carrie that "I study 
and read until I tire of both and am left a prey to loneliness and 
discontent," 78 he drew some consolation from the fact that he 
was able to stump his instructors: 

I have had the pleasure of attending several of his [Ward's] schools 
and am puzzling the old fellow to death with questions. Instead of 
learning us anything, he is confusing and unsettling all that we have 
learned. . . . Harryman is always on hand and comes to the General's 
rescue whenever he can, but I have several times stumped him too. 79 

Anyone who knew Harrison's propensity for study and his 
self-confessed lack of skill in the social amenities might justly 
suspect that this assiduous application to military theory would 

T2 Capt. S. V. Benet, Ordnance Dept., U. S. Army, was the translator. Baron de 
Jomini was aide-de-camp to the Emperor of Russia. 

73 Translated from ihe French by Capt. C. H. Mendell (U. S, A.). This copy is 
also in the library of the Harrison Home. 

i*An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering (New York, 1835). Mahan was 
Professor of Military and Civil Engineering at the United States Military Academy. 

75 Harrison to his wife, October 15, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

76 Harrison to his wife, August 26, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

77 Harrison to his wife, October 4, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

78 Harrison to his wife, October 15, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

79 Harrison to his wife, October 13, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


have warped the man. This could well have been the case. Even 
back in April he had reported to Carrie the results of a party 
given by General Paine. 80 He admitted: 

It was quite a gay assemblage. Dancing and card playing went 
round merrily and we had some very fine music. The music and a 
very nice supper were the only pleasures in which I participated. 
Though frequently urged to dance, and especially by a very buxom 
and pretty wife of one of our Indiana surgeons (Mrs. McGinnis from 
Evansville) I persistently declined. I really felt out of place in such a 
social gathering and must have seemed very dull to others as I was in 
fact. I believe I have lost all of my manners and all faculty of making 
myself agreeable in general society. 81 

He candidly admitted loneliness on several occasions. While sta- 
tioned in Nashville he wrote: "If I were a frequenter of the 
theatres, or of the more questionable places of amusement with 
which this city abounds, I might enjoy our location as well as 
some of the officers I know/' 82 

Fortunately for himself, Harrison did not long remain on a 
road to social ostracism and personal unhappiness. His resolu- 
tion to improve himself in this regard was gently prompted by the 
ever-vigilant Carrie at Indianapolis. 83 She probably took great 
pride in his subsequent letters, for Ben was soon given ample 
opportunity to prove the sincerity and strength of his determina- 
tion to lead a more balanced existence. General Paine continued 
to give parties at his cottage home, and as a rule the staff of the 
Seventieth were invited. Frequently, the entertainment provided 
was "rare and racy"; at other times, a round of singing was mere- 
ly followed by a round of drinking. Harrison claimed that he 
learned how to enjoy himself as a witness, if not as an actual 
participant. 84 

80 When General Dumont was removed from command due to illness on Decem- 
ber 10, 1862, General Paine was placed in charge of the division. 

81 Harrison to his wife, April 5, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 4. "My close applica- 
tion to hard work before coming into the army and my separation from all society 
since have made a very dull, matter of fact sort of personage out of me." 

82 Harrison to his wife, October 15, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

83 Carrie used to tell Ben of his faults along these lines. He insisted that she need 
never apologize for such kindness. Harrison to his wife, December 10, 1862, Harri- 
son MSS, Vol. 4. 

84 Colonel Dustin insisted that Harrison be present, and sometimes had to hood- 
wink him into attending social functions. Harrison to his wife, April 10, 1863, Har- 
rison MSS, Vol. 4. 


His ability to make an impromptu speech had been discovered 
at a party when Colonel Dustin of an Illinois regiment presented 
General Paine "with a splendid Henry Clay Banner of the cam- 
paign of 1 844 ... captured from some rebel house." 85 After Paine's 
gracious acceptance, a call was made upon Harrison. After some 
persuasion, he made a speech alluding "to Grandpa Harrison and 
to me a descendant. . . . Then I was fairly in for it." Carrie was 
encouraged by the sequel, as she read: 

I made a short response and you will be pleased to know that I was 
very highly complimented and very rapturously applauded. . . . My 
reputation as a speaker is on the rise, however it may be in a military 
point of view. Some of the officers got quite mellow and I laughed 
more than I did for a year before at the antics of some of them, par- 
ticularly Col. Dustin. 

Referring to the bourbon that flowed freely, Harrison was at 
pains to assure Carrie that "I touched it very lightly myself/' as 
did Surgeon Amos Reagan and Adjutant Jim Mitchell. "We came 
to camp duly sober, Col. Jim was a little funny, but not notice- 
ably so." 86 When Carrie visited the camp during May and Sep- 
tember, 1863, she found Ben leading a more normal existence. 
While he always found a "drunken revel disgusting," by Novem- 
ber he could honestly confess that he enjoyed a "pleasant, cheer- 
ful dinner of the kind where only wine enough is taken to give 
vivacity to the mind." 87 Harrison had successfully climbed sev- 
eral rungs in the social ladder. With a twinkle in his eye he ad- 
mitted that his "speech making and toast drinking . . . surprise" 
those who do not know me and who "from my quiet reserve at 
table have probably voted me a bore." 88 

The Seventieth Indiana, once more reunited with Ward's bri- 
gade, was assigned to Nashville, Tennessee, on August 19, iSSg. 89 
Here, as part of General Granger's reserve corps, it was engaged 
almost exclusively in guarding trains bound for Chattanooga, 

86 Ibid. 

87 Harrison to his wife, November 27, 1863, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. His idea of a 
"good" dinner was the Thanksgiving Day repast served in a Nashville restaurant: 
' Venison, Turkey, Quail, Oysters in several styles, sparkling Catawba etc." 

88 Ibid. 

S Harrison to Gen. E. A. Carman, February 8, 1876, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 


while Rosecrans' command again went to the front. 90 The re- 
maining four months of 1863 were spent there, with only fatigue 
and picket duty to lend variety to an otherwise completely ener- 
vating assignment. 91 Although Col. Harrison was thoroughly dis- 
gusted by this "scavenger" duty, as he termed it, he could say 
"that every day in camp should be used in preparation for that 
other day, always to be kept in mind the day of battle." 92 

At last, after various delays and minor assignments, General 
Ward's command was called to the front. On January 2, 1864, it 
lost its unspectacular status as a member of the reserve corps by 
temporarily becoming the ist Brigade of the ist Division of the 
nth Army Corps. In this reorganization Harrison commanded 
the brigade, while Ward led the division. Before the nth Army 
Corps reached the front, it was fused with the mh and this new 
consolidation was named the aoth Army Corps. In this organiza- 
tion Ward resumed command of the ist Brigade, now part of 
the grd Division. With this outfit the Seventieth Indiana In- 
fantry, under Harrison, was destined to serve until the close of 
the war. 98 After a year and a half of monotonous, although in- 
valuable, experience, they were ready for combat. 

Fortunately for the camp-weary Hoosiers, Ward's brigade and 
Harrison's regiment fitted admirably into the ambitious and 
ultimately successful plans of the new military dispensation in 
Washington, headed by General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant's ap- 
pointment on March 9, 1864, to the supreme command of all 
the Union armies also elevated William Tecumseh Sherman to 
the head of the Division of the Mississippi. 94 Although there had 
been bitter campaigns and important battles before the spring 
of 1864, with Grant and Sherman directing the main armies in 
the east and west, chances now brightened for an early ending of 
the war. 

90 Wallace, op. tit., p. 185. 

91 Harrison to his wife, August 21, 23, 25, 26, 29, October i, 4, 1863, Harrison 
MSS, Vol. 5. 

92 Wallace, op. cit., p. 185. 

93 Harrison to Gen. E. A. Carman, February 6, 1876, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 

94 William T. Sherman, Memoirs (New York, 1875), II, 5: "On the i8th day of 
March ... I relieved Lieutenant-General Grant in command of the Military Divi- 
sion of the Ohio." Randall, op. cit., p. 551: "The comradeship of Sherman and 
Grant bespoke a high morale in Union ranks. They were 'as brothers/ sajs Sher- 
man, both trained as professional soldiers but 'made* on the anvil of war, both 
associated with western victories, each giving credit to the other and ready to co- 
operate in the closing strokes of a well-planned, comprehensive campaign.** 


The prevailing concept of the war was changed as General 
Grant devised campaigns in combination, a strategy calculated 
to occupy the Confederates on their right, left and center and to 
keep them so busy that there could be no passing of help from 
one section to another. Consequently, with the conviction that 
Northern numerical superiority should prevail, simultaneous 
blows at the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the 
Army of the Tennessee were projected. Grant came east to com- 
mand the Army of the Potomac and Sherman traveled to Nash- 
ville to take charge of his forces. 95 

Sherman had come to his new command fully determined that 
the Army of the Cumberland should be reorganized. He ordered 
the consolidation of the i ith and i2th Army Corps and placed 
"Fighting Joe" Hooker 96 in command of what was now christened 
the 20th Army Corps. 97 Hooker, who was bent upon a change of 
personnel within the corps, was adamant in his demand that Ma- 
jor General Daniel Butterfield should lead one of the three divi- 
sions that comprised the new corps. 98 Fortunately for Harrison, 
Joe Hooker got what he wanted. As the time of the reorganiza- 
tion approached, Hooker despatched Butterfield, his Chief of 
Staff, to find out why Ward's brigade was still posted at Nashville. 
Butterfield arrived in the city on February 11, 1864, and Harri- 
son wrote to his wife: 

There was a revival of the marching story this week, but I cannot 
tell you what it may result in. Gen. Butterfield (Hooker's Chief of 

95 Jacob D. Cox, Atlanta (New York, 1882), gives the essential military and ad- 
ministrative background, but it should be supplemented by Henry Cist, The Army 
of the Cumberland. Walter Hebert, Fighting Joe Hooker (Indianapolis, 1944), espe- 
cially Ch. 20, and Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: The Fighting Prophet (New York, 1932), 
are colorful and accurate accounts. For the background of Sherman's Georgia cam- 
paign see Otto Eisenschiml and Ralph Newman, The American Iliad (Indianapolis, 

e Hooker's sobriquet was well earned; he maintained that the highest form of 
human enjoyment was "campaigning in an enemy's country." See Hebert, op. 
cit., p. 272, wherein he cites D. E. Sickles, An Address Delivered in Boston 
before the Hooker Association of Massachusetts (Norwood, 1910), p. 25. 

97 According to Hebert, op. cit., p. 272, and Official Records, Series 2, XXXII, 
pp. 363-66, the 2oth Army Corps was organized as follows: 

ist Division: Alpheus S. Williams; Brigade Commanders: Joseph F. Knipe, 
Thomas H. Ruger, Hector Tyndal; 

2nd Division: John W. Geary; Brigade Commanders: Charles Candy Adolphus 
Bushbeck, David Ireland; 

3rd Division: Daniel Butterfield; Brigade Commanders: William T. Ward, Sam- 
uel Ross, James Wood, Jr. 

98 Hebert, op. cit., p. 271. 


Staff) was up here a day or two since and making inquiries into the 
matter and has now gone back to report. He says Gen. Grant ex- 
pressed surprise that we had not been sent forward. We shall prob- 
ably know within a few days what to expect." 

And on February isth, Butterfield wrote to Hooker: 

My opinion in the premises is that the interests of the service would 
be best promoted by moving General Ward's Brigade, if not his divi- 
sion to the front. Their present condition near Nashville, with its 
temptation to soldiers, will not be improved. The command is repre- 
sented to be in a very high state of discipline and perfection in drill. 100 

Within a fortnight, Hooker ordered Ward's brigade to set out 
from Nashville and join its corps. In Ward's absence, Harrison 
took command, and within a few days he was on his way to Look- 
out Valley to join Hooker's command. 

99 Harrison to his wife, February 12, 1864, Harrison MSS, VoL 5. 

100 Official Records, Series 2, XXXII, pp. 376-77. 


In the Face of the Enemy 

WITH THE SPRING of 1864 the three-year old Civil War 
entered a new phase. A new-born spirit of aggressive- 
ness in the North seemed to support Grant as he as- 
sumed command. The foray of might which he planned would 
rain sledge-hammer blows on Southern troops throughout Vir- 
ginia and would place Lee on the defensive at Richmond. Sher- 
man^ task was to force open the gate leading to the lower South. 
He had no particular city to capture, not Atlanta, nor Augusta, 
nor Savannah. His objective was the army of Confederate Gen- 
eral Joseph E. Johnston, "go where it might." 1 

Sherman, in whose campaign Harrison was to play so conspicu- 
ous a role, spent the early weeks of spring in assembling under 
his direct command three good-sized armies. 2 Major General 
John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio was the smallest unit, 
comprising 14,000 men and 28 guns. Next in numerical rank 
was Major General James B. McPherson's Army of the Tennes- 
see, with 24,000 men and 96 guns. The most formidable element 
was the Army of the Cumberland, numbering 61,000 men and 
130 guns, under the command of Major General George H. 
Thomas, already the "renowned Rock of Chickamauga." 3 

Opposed to these forces was General Johnston, the peer of Lee 
in defensive generalship 4 and the "storm center" of the Confed- 

1 William T. Sherman, Memoirs, II, 26. 

2 7 bid., pp. 23-24; Jacob D. Cox, Atlanta, p. 25. 

s Two recent biographies of General Thomas have appeared: Richard O'Connor, 
Thomas: Rock of Chickamauga (New York, 1948), and Freeman Cleaves, Rock of 
Chickamauga: The Life of General George H. Thomas (Norman, Okla., 1948). More 
manuscript research went into Cleaves* work, which seems both better organized 
and more critical. 

4 James G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 51 1, modified this and 
claimed Johnston was "almost" a peer, while Cox, op. cit. f p. 26, says Johnston was 
second to Lee, if "second." 


erate Army. 5 Although outnumbered, for Sherman's forces num- 
bered close to 100,000, Johnston determined early to employ his 
70,000 troops 6 in constructing entrenchments, one behind the 
other, to be resorted to in the event of compulsory retreat. His 
strategy was to maintain his usual "lynx-eyed watchfulness" over 
his foe, so as to tempt the latter constantly to assault the entrench- 
ments that were so well fortified that one man in the line was 
equal to three or four on the attack. 7 Each commander knew the 
skill and reputation of his opponent, and in April both hoped 
that this spring would be a season of hope and success. 

While Johnston and his Confederate subordinates, Hood, 
Polk, Hardee, and Cleburne, were digging in and disposing their 
forces in the vicinity of Dalton, Georgia, the Army of the Cum- 
berland shook itself out of winter quarters. 8 Harrison started 
Ward's brigade from Nashville on February 24, i864. 9 The 
march to Georgia promised to be wearying, for the terrain was 
mountainous. Harrison, however, had his own ideas regard- 
ing the conduct of the march. After only one week on the road 
at an average marching pace of ten to thirteen miles per day, it 
was evident that good time had been made by troops who were 
still sufficiently rested "to be delighted with the daily routine." 10 
Even Harrison, now weighing 140 pounds and looking the 
picture of health, maintained that the march would "greatly im- 
prove my health, though it didn't seem to need any." 11 The only 
real casualties on the route after the first hundred miles were the 
underfed and none too hardy mules. After being exposed to a 
chilling rain and a hard pull through mud ankle-deep, many 
simply lay down on the grass and died. 12 

5 Alfred P. James, "General Joseph Eggleston Johnston, Storm Center o the 
Confederate Army," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 14 (1927-38), S42-59- See 
also Cox, op. cit., pp. 25 ff. 

6 This eternal controversy about the number of Confederate troops in Johnston's 
army is admirably handled in a lengthy footnote by Randall, op. cit., p. 551. 

7 Cox, op. cit., p. 27. 

8 O'Connor, op. cit., pp. 259 ff. 

At Murfreesboro, Harrison relinquished command of the brigade to Gen. 
Ward, who, accompanied by the iO2nd Illinois, had caught up with his troops after 
a few days' absence. Harrison to his wife, February 27, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

10 Harrison to his wife, February 27, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

11 Ibid. 

12 By contrast, Harrison stated: "We have slept in wet blankets which were 
frozen in the morning and I am still perfectly well, and not even a cold." B. Har- 
rison to his wife, March 2, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


When the Seventieth passed through Shelbyville, Tennessee, 
large numbers turned out to see these "veterans" yet unscarred 
by battle. In the audience were a number of Hooker's eastern 
soldiers, who viewed the Indiana troops with critical eye. Evi- 
dently, the outfit passed muster quite successfully, for the east- 
erners were not slow to say within Harrison's hearing that "The 
Indiana Regiments made the best march through they ever saw 
and were the best looking Brigade." 18 Of course, the men were 
pleased and went into camp that night in fine spirits. Yet this 
was only a lull before the storm of hardship and disappointment. 
Heavy rains came to make the wagon trails nothing better than 
a sea of mud. 

I thought I had seen things a little rough, but . . . yesterday's march 
and yesterday in camp at Tullahoma surpassed anything I had ever 
dreamed of. It rained . . . and the holes in the road were up to the 
axles of the wagons. Some of the wagons did not get in until noon the 
next day and the rear guard were forced to stand all night in a swamp 
and without fire to do any good. I went out four miles the next day 
to help them and took a ration of whiskey to them. Last night when 
we and all our bed clothes were wet it turned cold and froze quite 
hard and this morning we got up stiff all over. 14 

During the remainder of the march through southern Ten- 
nessee, Ward took over his brigade once again, and Harrison's 
responsibility was at an end. Yet the Brigadier General from Ken- 
tucky might well have wished things were otherwise, for he had 
committed at least three serious errors on the march that drew 
the fire of Harrison's criticism. Even before the brigade reached 
mountainous country, Harrison complained that "Gen. Ward 
has been a perfect nuisance as usual." 16 What particularly an- 
noyed him, he wrote, was Ward's custom of starting ahead with 
a mounted company in the morning, and each time failing com- 
pletely to communicate any orders to his regimental command- 
ers. Even when the brigade's destination would be made known, 
Ward was not sure "by what road" to proceed. 

The troops' strong feeling against Ward reached its peak on 
March 4. His brigade, rapidly reaching out for Alabama and 

13 ibid. 

is Ibid. Harrison frequently aired his misgivings about Ward to the confidential 
ear of his wife. 


Georgia, was directed to pass through some desolate mountain 
country with the understanding that they should then pitch camp 
in the valley of Big Crow Creek, 18 miles north of the Alabama 
line, and on the railroad leading to Stevenson. Ward preceded the 
marching columns on horseback in order to determine the road. 
Before long, he had lost his way in the mountain passes. The 
wagon train, well advanced along a desolate trail, had to be 
turned around and brought back several miles. "The roads are 
terribly bad and it seems a wonder that a single wagon came 
over safely," Ben wrote. His added remarks to Carrie are inter- 

I worked like a Turk correcting his errors and finally got the troops 
and the train on the right road. The Gen. got a good deal of cussing^ 
I hear, for the blunder, and right well did he deserve it. As to myself 
I am told that I was greatly praised for the energy I displayed in 
bringing things right. I marched the troops right across the mountain 
from one road to another where I venture no horseman ever rode 
before . . . but as we saved several miles march, it was thought to be 
a good thing. Gen. W. was greatly surprised when I sent a staff officer 
to report that the Brigade was on the new road and ready to march 
forward. 16 

Yet, when it came time to explain Ward's blunder, Harrison's 
humor did not fail him. Admitting that the desolate country- 
side yielded no army rations, he naively explained the Brigadier's 
mistake by adding: 

Gen. Ward rides on ahead and buys up all of the chickens. I think 
he and his staff must have been tracking a chicken when they lost the 
road yesterday. If we had not stumbled on a house in the hills, we 
would have been going yet on the Battle Creek Road. 17 

On the next day, however, when Ward succeeded in losing 
the road again, Harrison put aside any semblance of charity, at- 
tributing this second error in two days to Ward's heavy drinking. 18 
Under the circumstances this charge may or may not have been 
true. The brigade had been instructed to march along Crow 
Creek, "the crooked stream whose windings we were compelled 

16 Harrison to his wife, March 5, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


is Harrison to his wife, March 7, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


to follow from the summit of the mountain to Stevenson." After 
Ward's mistake had been detected and his orders countermanded, 
the march was completed without further mishap. In the reflec- 
tive mood sometimes induced by a glowing campfire, Ben wrote 
to Carrie: 

We marched to within one mile of Stevenson, following all the way 
the valley of ... Big Crow Creek . . . often having to go a mile around 
to get a quarter on our way. The banks of the stream are in many 
places swampy and the road follows along the base of the hills, and 
makes the circuit of every little cove in the mountains. Gen. Ward 
said he hadn't been drinking anything (?) but that the road was so 
crooked that it made him drunk. Perhaps in consequence of this he 
lost his road again and ordered me to cross the creek at Anderson ---- 
After working for an hour and getting 20 men wet all over in trying 
to construct a bridge, we found out there was a good road (the one 
that we had been following) that didn't cross the creek at all and I 
turned the troops back and took that road. 19 

Captain Merrill called the road from Bridgeport, Alabama, 
to Wauhatchie, Tennessee, the "region of dead mules/' 20 Har- 
rison's recollection of the day is vivid: 

We had a terrible day's march from Bridgeport here. The road was 
lined with dead mules and horses and the stench was sickening. Dr. 
Reagan got to vomiting and I had hard work to keep my stomach 
quiet. We got our water for coffee out of a creek in the morning; and 
when we started to march up it, found dead mules in and along the 
creek at the rate of a hundred to a mile. We joked it off, however, as 
only soldiers can, and suffered no detriment from our cups of mule 
tea. 21 

Having covered twelve miles in this tiresome trudge, Har- 
rison's command reached the Wauhatchie encampment on a 
picturesque hillside beneath the frowning heights of Lookout 
Mountain. Here in a narrow valley, "with Lookout Range on 
one side and Raccoon on the other," the Seventieth received its 
warmest welcome. On hand to greet the untried Hoosiers were 
Major General Oliver O. Howard, Commander of the i ith Army 
Corps, and his entire staff. There was even a brass band. Although 

20 Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana, p. 75. 

21 Harrison to his wife, March 11, 1864. Harrison MSS. Vol. K. 


the troops were exhausted by the march under a scorching sun 
and through a polluted atmosphere, Ward's entire brigade passed 
in review. Harrison confided to his wife that Howard "seemed 
very much pleased with the Brigade and treated us with greatest 
cordiality/' 22 This was the beginning of a friendship that ma- 
tured with the passing years. 23 Howard was a man of parts whom 
Sherman praised as "one who mingles so gracefully and perfectly 
the polished Christian gentleman and the prompt, zealous and 
gallant soldier." 24 A delighted Harrison wrote: 

We (self, staff and field officers) took dinner with him yesterday 
and witnessed a review of one of his Brigades. He rode all about his 
camp with us ... in a word made us feel perfectly at home. He asked 
a blessing at table and bore himself like a Christian gentleman. 25 

Camped on the ground of "Hooker's fight where he scaled 
Lookout" during the celebrated battle above the clouds, Har- 
rison was soon feeding the fires of ambition and glory within his 
own heart. One afternoon, he accepted the invitation of General 
Howard to ride over and examine the battlefield. The lesson of 
heroic sacrifice was not lost upon Ben; for that same evening from 
the quiet of his tent he despatched a significant message to his 
wife: "I feel as if I had a character to make . . . and shall work 
night and day to do it and hope to have my labors appreciated." 26 
Within a week, he was appointed Commandant of the post at 
Wauhatchie. 27 During the next month and a half, while holding 
this office as well as directing the activities of Ward's Brigade, 
the colonel worked "like a beaver" both in adjusting the camp 
and in adapting himself to the methods of Howard's i ith Army 

22 Harrison to his wife, March 11, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. Their new loca- 
tion was about six miles from Chattanooga. 

23 Immediately after his election to the presidency, Harrison received a letter 
from Howard who said in part: "I remember you, when in your young manhood, 
you were maneuvering your regiment near Bridgeport, Ala. It was the first time 1 
looked into your cheerful face. I felt stronger that you with a noble regiment were 
there." November 7, 1888, Harrison MSS, Vol. 45. 

24 Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: The Fighting Prophet, p. 349. 

25 Harrison to his wife, March 1 1, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. See Hebert, Walter, 
Fighting Joe Hooker, pp. 263-66. Otto Eisenschiml and Ralph Newman, The 
American Iliad, has a splendid account of the battle of Chickamauga and Mission- 
ary Ridge where the fighting in the West took place. For Howard's part, see pp. 


26 Harrison to his wife, March 11, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

27 Harrison to his wife, March 15, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


Corps. He earned a slight reputation as "Administrative Ben," 
but no one took the liberty of saying so to his face. 

Sunday in camp afforded Harrison his only respite from the 
drudgery of administration. Usually, a preaching service was held 
at headquarters at five; and, after the chaplain had given his mes- 
sage, General Howard, "a very decided Christian and a total ab- 
stinence man," 28 would make a short address. Hooker, never too 
guarded in his remarks, said, "Howard would command a prayer 
meeting with a good deal more ability than he would an army." 29 
Harrison found this procedure to his personal liking; the general 
was apt to "urge some strong consideration against profanity and 
other vices," 80 and second, his manner and mode of speech were 
"easy, gentle and persuasive." 31 There is considerable evidence 
that acting Brigadier Harrison drew abundant consolation from 
these and kindred services. Each succeeding letter to Indianapo- 
lis contained some reflection on the progress of his spiritual life. 
On the final Sunday as a member of the i ith Army Corps under 
Howard, he wrote to his wife: 

This is a beautiful Sabbath and my heart yearns to sit with you in 
the house of God at home, and to go with my dear little ones to the 
Sabbath School I love so much, but, if it cannot be ... I must endeavor 
to find such grace as God will afford me in my private meditations in 
my lonely cabin, or at a brief service in the open air. Oh, how I do 
pine for home . . . God only grant that there be no "vacant chair." 82 

While at Wauhatchie, Harrison's star was in the ascendant. 
The high command under Howard liked his ability to get things 
done, while subordinates in camp were pleased with an adminis- 
tration that provided good food and comfortable quarters. 38 This 
honeymoon of contentment, however, was threatened with an 
abrupt termination by the consolidation of the nth and isth 
Army Corps into the 2Oth Army Corps. General Oliver Howard, 
Harrison's intimate friend and potential Warwick, was trans- 
ferred, to make room for Major General Joseph Hooker. 84 This 

28 Harrison to his wife, March 22, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

29 Hebert, op. cit., p. 294. 

80 Harrison to his wife, March 29, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

81 Harrison to his wife, March 22, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

82 Harrison to his wife, April 3, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

88 Harrison to his wife, March 24, 29, April 3, 7, 10, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol 5. 
Also Merrill, op. tit., pp. 76-79. 
34 Hebert, op. cit., p. 271. 


change came as a distinct blow to Harrison; and he was none too 
happy in the loss of Howard's leadership: 

It was a source of real regret and sadness to me to lose Gen. Howard. 
... I really learned to love him, and he is the only military leader I 
felt so towards. He was so much a gentleman, refined, kind and rigidly 
conscientious in the discharge of his duty. All of his actions seem to 
spring from principle. As a military leader ... his great characteristic 
was a cool disregard of danger in the path of duty. 35 

When he referred to Hooker, Howard's successor and the new 
Commander of the soth Army Corps, Harrison had few good 
words. Undoubtedly, his first opinion of "Fighting Joe" was some- 
what colored, when he learned that Hooker liked General Ward. 
With the removal of Howard's restraining influence, Harrison 
feared that "whiskey . . . would be the ascendant now, if the 
stories about Hooker are well founded." 36 During the first few 
weeks under this new military regime he stayed far from Hook- 
er's headquarters. "Indeed, I have only been [there] . . . once 
and that once shortly after we came here. I do not like to call 
there now, as he might think I was toadying to keep my place." 37 

Harrison's fear that Hooker would reward General Ward was 
fully realized once the total reorganization was effected. In mid- 
April, Ward resumed command of the ist Brigade of Butter- 
field's grd Division, while Harrison returned to the command of 
his own regiment. 88 The colonel was not nearly as displeased by 
his own demotion as he was "heartily disgusted" that "the incu- 
bus we have carried so long" 89 should be his superior officer once 
more. He had a solution for his problem; and having swallowed 
his disappointment, he told Carrie: 

. . . there is no use of grumbling. ... I have a duty to do, and I shall do 
it, however unpleasant it may be. ... I have received a very flattering 
expression from the officers of the different Regiments in regard to 

85 Harrison concluded his encomium of Howard by saying that "he seemed to 
have put his life in God's keeping with perfect trust." Harrison to his wife, April 
10, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

se Harrison to his wife, April 7, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. It is evident that 
Harrison entertained a growing dislike for Ward as a "lazy sot" and one who was 
always "beastly drunk." 

87 Harrison to his wife, April 10, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

88 ibid. The orders were officially issued to Harrison on April 15, 1864. "Direct to 
me hereafter 70 Ind. Vols., ist Brig, grd Div., 20 A. C. Army of the Cumberland." 

89 Harrison to his wife, April 7, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


my command of the Brigade, which must atone in large measure for 
the loss of my command. 40 

In time, Harrison came to like Hooker, and became a frequent 
guest at "Fighting Joe's" dinner table. He felt somewhat vindi- 
cated when Hooker called him aside for a long conversation, in 
the course of which the general advanced the confidential infor- 
mation that the regimental commanders had bestowed liberal 
praise upon the acting Brigadier from Indiana, and told Carrie: 

He said they [the regimental officers] gave me the whole credit of 
making the Brigade what it is, and that it was not divided with any- 
one. I was glad to hear that the truth was partly known, though I told 
him that I thought the Regimental Commanders were entitled to 
more credit than anyone else. 41 

Although he still maintained that Ward was a poor brigade 
commander, he was moved to confess that: 

Perhaps my ambition was soaring too high, for a soldier who had 
never seen any service, and this clipping of my wings may do me good. 

With God's blessing I hope, when I head the 7oth into battle to 
strike some good blows for my country, and it will then be time to 
claim a larger command. 42 

During the spring, both the Union forces under Sherman and 
the Confederate forces under Johnston made elaborate prepara- 
tions for the battle that all knew was close at hand. April teemed 
with rumors in Harrison's camp, all telling of a rebel offensive 
under Gen. Joe Johnston, to be launched near Ringold, Georgia, 
on the Chickamauga River. Definite news, however, was most 
difficult to obtain; and while a pitched battle at Ringold never 
materialized, the anxiety suffered by both sides was intense. 48 
In late April, a rebel chaplain deserted Johnston's forces and, 
upon entering the Union camp, reported the Confederate Army 
at no less than 0,000 effective troops. This piece of information 
caused Harrison to warn his wife that General Johnston "will 

*> Ibid. 

. Harrison to his wife, April 7, 1864, Harrison MSS, VoL 5. 

42 Ibid. 

43 Merrill, ob.cit.. n. 81. 


give us warm work; but we will be more than a match for him, if 
we can only keep our long line of communications." 44 

Actually, Johnston had concentrated his troops at Dalton, 
Georgia. Sherman's intelligence reported that this strategic cen- 
ter was strongly fortified, whereupon the Union leader put aside 
any intention of "attacking the position seriously in front." 45 
This strategy, as Harrison explained it, was founded "on the 
plain proposition that if we can flank the fortified position of the 
enemy at Dalton, we will do so rather than to assault it in the 
front." 46 

Even before the signal to march, almost every man at Wau- 
hatchie sensed the nearness of the Confederate forces now concen- 
trated for the first general engagement of the Atlanta campaign. 
In the heavy mail pouch ticketed for Indianapolis was a long let- 
ter to Carrie, one paragraph of which told the whole story: 

We have been having very warm weather for several days and the 
trees are bursting into the full foliage as if by magic, after being kept 
back for so long by the cold rains and winds. These steep and craggy 
sides of Lookout will soon be hidden by a leafy curtain. Is it not a 
strange contrast that while nature is budding into a sweet and joyous 
life, man should be preparing a carnival of death? ... I fancy these 
stalwart soldiers of the hillsides are unfurling their leafy banners to 
welcome us, and that the songsters in their branches are singing to 

cheer us, as we march on, the conquering soldiers of freedom In 

nature there is no life except the seed be cast into the earth and die, 
and so in our national life, this sad time of death shall yet yield its 
fruit in a purer, higher and surer national life. . . . May God help us 
who stand for our country in the coming conflict to quit ourselves 
like men. 47 

Carrie's anxiety had been increased by stories which had ap- 
peared in the Indiana press. Her husband reassured her by add- 

You must not feel uneasy or be alarmed at any rumors you may 
hear of fighting. I will telegraph you after any fight we may be en- 
gaged in, and let you know how I fared, and will inform you of the 
truth as soon as any body could possibly hear it at home I shall 

44 Harrison to his wife, April 24, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 
46 Sherman, op. cit. f II, 32. 

46 Harrison to his wife, April 26, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

47 Harrison to his wife, April 26, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


take all proper care of myself both on the march and in battle and 
have a strong faith that God will keep me safely. 48 

Grant and Sherman saw to it that everything was in complete 
readiness for their simultaneous thrusts at Lee and Johnston. 
Grant's original "D-Day" was April goth. Consequently, on the 
28th Sherman moved his headquarters to Chattanooga and pre- 
pared to take the field in person. 49 Grant canceled his original 
plans and set May 5th as the day to move on both fronts. This 
extra delay enabled Sherman to maneuver his three armies to 
more advantageous positions. While Thomas directed his Army 
of the Cumberland toward Ringold in anticipation of rebel re- 
sistance, Harrison and the Seventieth left Wauhatchie, crossed 
over the Chickamauga battleground, and reached Lee and Gor- 
don's Mills on May i, 1864. 

On May 4th, he moved to within five miles of the rebel posi- 
tion at Buzzard's Roost. From this outpost Harrison could hear 
the firing at Tunnell Hill. After a single day in camp, the Seven- 
tieth was ordered to the front, but progress was slow because 
the enemy had blockaded the way with timber. The next day 
Harrison's advance guard encountered hostile scouts, and "rout- 
ing them and capturing some prisoners, arms and horses," they 
marched to within six miles of Dalton, where the bulk of the 
Confederacy's finest soldiers awaited them. 50 

His self-description, meant only for Carrie's eyes, is eminently 

To give you an idea of how we look on the move, let me describe 
myself. Behind my saddle I have a comfort rolled up in my rubber 
coat . . . strapped as small as possible. In front of my saddle I have 
my blue coat rolled up and strapped on. The small cavalry saddle 
bags are filled to their utmost capacity . . . my little tin bucket for 
making tea, swings clattering by my side. About my person I have 
my sword and belt, cantine and haversack. The bundle behind my 
saddle is so large that it is a straining effort to get my leg over it in 
getting on or off and when in the saddle I feel like one who has been 
wrapped up for embalming ... it is very disagreeable. 51 

48 Ibid. 

49 Sherman, op. cit., II, 30-31. 

50 Harrison to his wife, May 5, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. Merrill, op. cit., Ch. 7, 
details the entire action day by day. See also Cleaves, op. cit. f pp. 205-14. 

i Harrison to his wife, May 5, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. *. 


May 8th was a Sunday. One private with his feet on the ground 
and his head in heaven wrote that "there was a large turnout to 
preaching this morning in God's first temple, for the poor fellows 
of our Regiment feel pretty solemn at the prospect of a coming 
battle." 52 On the gth and loth, Hooker's Corps went into action 
as the battle raged at Tunnell Hill and Rocky Face Ridge; but 
the Seventieth was held in reserve. Heavy firing ceased on the 
loth, and news reached Harrison that the enemy was falling back 
to Resaca to make a real stand. The next day, the entire ist Bri- 
gade slipped through Snake Creek Gap to confront the foe at 

Generals Sherman, Schofield, Hooker, Thomas, McPherson 
and Kilpatrick had outlined their strategy in council. Shortly 
after dawn on May 13, 1864, Harrison's command moved closer 
to Resaca; their orders to move into the second line of battle. 58 
As he advanced his companies, Harrison was later to report: 

Gen. Kilpatrick passed us with his cavalry command, and in less 
than an hour came back wounded, in an ambulance. We moved out 
and formed on Gen. McPherson's left . . . and very soon engaged the 
enemy. We did not participate in the fight and were not under fire 
that day except from enemy's batteries which dropped a few shells 
among us. 54 

Tomorrow would be his turn. Now it was Friday the i3th; and 
late that night Benjamin Harrison, in a mood of rare emotion, 
penned a beautiful letter to his wife: 

I must write you tonight as we look for battle tomorrow, and God 
only knows who shall come safely through it. ... May God in His 
great mercy give us a great victory and may the nation give Him the 
praise. . . . 

You will perhaps like to know how I feel on the eve of my first 
great battle. Well, I do not feel in the least excited, nor in any sense 
of shrinking. I am in my usual good spirits, though not at all in- 
sensible to grave responsibilities and risks which I must bear tomor- 
row. I am thinking much of you and the dear children and my whole 
heart comes out towards you in tenderness and love and many earnest 
prayers will I send up to God this night, should you lose a husband 

52 Merrill, op. cit., p. 83. 

53 From the diary of William Wilhite, cited by Merrill, op. cit., pp. 84-85. 

54 Harrison to his wife, May 20, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


and they a father in the fight, that in His grace you may find abundant 
consolation and in His providence abundant temporal comfort and 
support. I know you will not forget me, "should I be numbered 
among the slain/' but let your grief be tempered by the consolation 
that I died for my country and in Christ. If God gives me strength I 
mean to bear myself bravely come what will, so that you may have 
no cause to blush for me, though you should be forced to mourn. 

But I have said these things only against the possibility of death, 
and not in any spirit of despondency, nor to awaken needless anxiety 
in your heart. Probably this letter will not be sent forward until the 
issue of the battle is known and I will precede it by a telegram if I 
can get one through, though this is doubtful You must not burthen 
your heart with too much anxiety, as doubtless you will be in suspense 
for some days before you hear from me. Let us calmly put our trust 
in God and wait the issue. If it be prosperous for our country and for 
me, let us lift a glad song of praise, and if adverse to either, let us 
humbly bow to the decrees of Him who doeth all things well. 

... I must make this letter short, as we need a good rest tonight and 
shall probably be awakened early in the morning. I might say much 
more, but this is enough. I love you, my dear wife, with all the devo- 
tion of a full heart, and my children as the apple of my eyes. But the 
obligations of a soldier are upon me, and these dear domestic ties are 
only the stronger incentive to quit myself well in the fight. 

May the large storehouses of God's grace and providence always be 
open to you and them. My blessing rests upon you. Remember me af- 
fectionately to Irwin, Jennie and their families, also to Mr. Nixon, 
Mr. Sharpe, Mr. Ray and all of my family in the old P [resbyterian] . 
Chfurch], who may inquire for me, and particularly to the members 
of my old Bible class and the dear Sabbath School. Should I come 
alive through the fight to get home ... I hope to see you all in good 
time. Farewell and God bless you. 55 

55 Harrison to his wife, May 13 (?), 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


The Atlanta Campaign 

IN THE CONFEDERATE VIEW, Resaca was the "first battle of mag- 
nitude in the celebrated Georgia campaign." 1 Around this 
little Georgia town General Joe Johnston had formed a horse- 
shoe-shaped defense line, somewhat like the formation called for 
by the Union strategists at Gettysburg. All around were hills, 
swamps, ravines, and "dense thickness" 2 so that the Confederate 
general calculated wisely that any direct frontal attack by Union 
forces was tantamount to suicide. Consequently, since he held so 
tremendous a tactical advantage, he determined to cling closely 
to his heavily fortified position and possibly tempt Sherman to 
launch a costly assault. 

On May 14, 1864, Sherman was tempted and he did not resist. 
He at once began to press his foe around Resaca with a view to 
outflanking him. This Union decision to take the offensive made 
the rebels rejoice; and one man in gray wrote: 

To their music we slept, by their thunderings we were awakened 
and to the accompanying call of the bugle we responded on the morn- 
ing of May 14 to engage in the death grapple with Sherman's well- 
clothed, well-fed and thoroughly rested veterans who moved against 
us in perfect step, with banners flying and bands playing, as though 
expecting to charm us. 3 

Sherman's strategy, 4 calling for a frontal attack in order to draw 

1 Otto Eisenschiml and Ralph Newman, The American Iliad, p. 609, record this 
as the opinion of Confederate Lieutenant L. D. Young. 

2 The New York Press, March 14, 1901, gives an excellent historical setting and 
background for the fight at Resaca. 

3 Eisenschiml and Newman, op. cit., p. 609. 

4 Sherman was entertaining the main part of enemy forces in front, while he 
planned their undoing by sending Dodge's Corps down the river to the rear to cut 
Confederate communications and to intercept their retreat. William Sherman, 
Memoirs, II, 37. 



Joe Johnston's fire, resulted in several collisions costly to the 
Union cause. Securely entrenched along a line of hill crests, the 
Confederate infantry and artillery calmly waited until the advanc- 
ing Union columns were within seventy-five yards before opening 
a murderous fire. Despite the terrible carnage and the horribly 
shattered lines, the Union forces rallied again and again. 5 

To Hooker's army, and in particular Ward's brigade, fell the 
thankless task of attempting to silence one especially obnoxious 
rebel battery commanding the approach to Resaca. Orders were 
issued to Colonel Harrison that the Seventieth Indiana, at a sig- 
nal from General Ward, was to storm the hill and knock it out. 
The hill was not particularly steep; the difficulty was in crossing 
a ravine "all choked with stunted pine trees and undergrowth, 
without break or path." 6 Harrison discovered that, before his 
regiment could even reach the enemy position, "they had to run 
down hill, and make their way through a dense pine thicket, tra- 
verse a few hundred yards of open field and thence on up the 
hill to the Confederate redoubt." 7 While reconnoitering and 
awaiting the moment of command, Harrison found the aim of 
enemy sharpshooters "most provokingly accurate [as] bullets 
kept whistling over our heads all day long . . . often striking a 
tree and felling at our feet." 8 

He now faced his first major military assignment under fire; 
and although there are numerous accounts of his conduct, 9 none 
is more accurate than his own description sent to an anxious wife 
five days after the battle. 10 The order to advance came from Gen- 
eral Ward, while "we were lying behind the crest of the hilL" 
Down the exposed slope the Seventieth moved, not without heavy 
casualties, "halting at the bottom under the cover of a fence to 

BEisenschiml and Newman, op. cit., p. 611: "Three times during the morning 
and early afternoon were these attacks made upon our [Confederate] lines. It was a 
veritable picnic . . . protected as we were by earthworks with clear and open ground 
in front." 

Lew Wallace, Life of Gen, Ben Harrison, p. 190. 

7 House Document No. 154, p. 112. 

8 Harrison to his wife, May 20, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

9 In addition to a number of newspaper accounts, now a part of the Harrison 
Scrapbook Series, the best accounts are by Wallace, op. cit., pp. 189-99; House 
Document No. 154; Samuel Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana, pp. 99-1 14. 

10 Harrison to his wife, May 20, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. Except for identified 
source references, all quotations in the next few pages, until his letter of June 14, 
are from this missive. 


reform my line." Here the stark reality of the situation struck 
the colonel: 

I saw that the Regiment on my left had not come down. ... [I] 
passed word up to General Ward to know what was the matter. He 
sent me word that he did not intend to pass over the hill, 11 but only 
to advance to the crest. 

Harrison found his position extremely precarious. Bitterly 
cursing Ward and his command as "stupid and maudlin," he 
took stock of the danger. As for being reunited with Ward's bri- 
gade, Harrison explained that he was 

. . . where I could not get back without being exposed to a terrible 
fire . . . even where we were, there was no safety except in lying per- 
fectly flat on the ground. As I lay here, the bullets would strike into 
the bank just above me and roll the sand down upon my head. 

The perplexed colonel was far from pleased when he heard 
one of the brigade staff calling to him from the summit of the 
hill that General Ward desired the return of the regiment. The 
risk involved in getting up the hill was again described by Har- 
rison as "terrible": 

It was very steep and I could only get up the hill by pulling by roots 
and bushes. . . . You had better believe I scrambled up pretty fast . . . 
the sharpshooters did not fail to pay their compliments to me all the 
way up. 

By retiring the men singly or in small squads under the cover of 
night he was able without further casualties to resume his former 
line behind the crest of the hill. 12 The rest of the night was spent 
in the construction of rifle pits along the front line. 
At dawn on the i5th, Harrison's men were relieved. Ward's 

II "Instructions had been received from your headquarters ... to assault the 
works in our front at some time during the day . . . supposing that the order to 
advance involved such an assault," Harrison advanced over the crest of the hill, 
down the slope. Harrison to Ward, May 20, 1864, Merrill, op. cit. f pp. 106-12. 

12 In his official report to General Ward, Harrison totaled his losses for the day: 
"On the skirmish line, killed, enlisted men, i; wounded, enlisted men, 3; in advanc- 
ing over crest of hill to our supposed assault, killed, enlisted men, 2; wounded, en- 
listed men, 10; wounded, Lt. Martin, Company I, slightly in the leg." The complete 
report is given in Merrill, op. cit. f pp. 106-12. 


brigade was deployed in support of Howard's left. Almost im- 
mediately, the weary men were ordered to storm a battery of 
enemy rifle pits. For Harrison there was no mistaking of orders 
this time. The brigade was formed under the cover of a woods, 
and Carrie Harrison read the sequel: 

. . . one regiment behind another ... my Regiment in advance and 
Coburn's and Wood's Brigades of our Division supporting our left 
... we started to descend the hill and the enemies' batteries soon 
opened upon us ... getting into the valley which was a cleared field 
we caught a heavy fire of musketry, but the men pressed on bravely 
and without flinching. 

The enemy's breastworks were almost completely hidden on 
the side of a thickly wooded hill. Reconnoitering, however, was 
hardly necessary, inasmuch as fire from the rebel battery clearly 
revealed their position. Harrison, taking off his cap and waving 
it high above his head, "cheered his men on." 18 Moving forward 
on the double and subjected to a murderous enfilading fire, the 
men maintained perfect order. With no sign of faltering, they 
charged the hill into the very face of the enemy battery. The un- 
daunted Hoosiers, who had waited almost two years for this op- 
portunity, now drove forward until the Confederate gunners 
were struck down at their guns. The ensuing struggle was in- 
delibly printed in Harrison's memory: 

Having gained the outer face of the embrasures, in which the en- 
emy had four is-pound Napoleon guns, my line halted for a moment 
to take breath. Seeing that the infantry supports had deserted the 
artillery, I cheered the men forward, and, with a wild yell, they en- 
tered the embrasures, striking down and bayoneting the gunners, 
many of whom defiantly stuck by their guns until struck down. 14 

There was still another strong line of breastworks, hidden from 
view by a thick pine undergrowth, save for one point which had 

is Dan M. Ransdell remarked that Col. Harrison always cried "come on boys" 
and never "go on boys," Indianapolis Journal, June 29, 1888. 

i 4 With the passing years Harrison's respect for the courage and bravery of the 
Confederate soldiers at Resaca increased. In 1876 he wrote to General Carman that 
"the rebel gunners who manned this battery stood their guns nobly . . . several of 
them refusing to surrender and striking at our men with their rammers, were bay- 
oneted at their guns." Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 


been used as a gateway. To storm this line would be their acid 
test. Opposing the Seventieth Indiana was a division of veteran 
Confederate troops under the command of General J. B. Hood, 
a man whose bravery was not tempered by caution. 15 

Dan Ransdell remembered seeing "Harrison standing up there 
right in front of the rebels, waving his sword in one hand and 
brandishing a revolver in the other." 16 The colonel ordered and 
led the assault. Later, he reported: 

When we first entered the embrasures of the outer works, the enemy 
fled in considerable confusion from the inner one, and had there been 
a supporting line brought up in good order at this junction, the sec- 
ond line might easily have been carried and held. My line having 
borne the brunt of the assault, it was not to be expected that it could 
be reformed for the second assault in time. The enemy in a moment 
rallied in rear of their second line, and poured in a most destructive 
fire upon us, which compelled us to return outside the first line to 
obtain the cover of the works. 17 

At this point, confusion creeps into an otherwise clear narra- 
tive. A command, probably from a Confederate officer to his own 
men, was heard and repeated: "Retreat, they are flanking us." 
Several battalions of Ward's brigade were coming up to support 
Harrison's regiment, but, on hearing the cry, many scrambled 
down hill. Apologetically, Harrison reported: 

I strove in vain to rally my men under the enemy's fire on the hillside, 
and finally followed them to a partially sheltered place behind a ridge 
on our left . . . preparing to lead them again to the support of those 
who still held the guns we had captured. 

At the foot of the hill, Harrison was informed that General 
Ward had been wounded, 18 leaving him to command the ist 
Brigade. He reformed the brigade "and then urgently asked Gen- 
eral Butterfield for permission to take it again to the works we 

15 James G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 553. 

16 Indianapolis Journal, June 29, 1888. 

17 Harrison to Ward, May 20, 1864, an official report cited by Merrill, op. cit* 
pp. 109-10. 

18 On December 15, 1884, Harrison wrote to John Ward, the General's son: "I 
saw your father, General Ward, on the battlefield at Resaca a few moments after 
he was wounded in the arm. He did not go to the hospital at all ... whatever sur- 
gical treatment the wound had was at his own quarters" (Tibbott transcripts). 


had carried and still held, and bring off the guns we had cap- 
tured." Butterfield, however, had other plans. 

He refused permission, but ordered me to support Coburn's Brigade 
which was on a hill nearby. Just as we were forming, the enemy made 

a charge I ordered the men not to fire if the enemy reached the 

hill but to push him back with the bayonet. 

Though the issue was joined on this second front, at nightfall 
no decision had been reached. In the meanwhile, 300 or so from 
the Seventieth remained just outside the rebel lunette and held 
fast to the guns captured earlier in the day. At a late hour on 
the i5th, this rugged band under Captain Henry Scott, Carrie's 
brother, was withdrawn, but not before handing off the enemy 
guns to a fresh party of reinforcements. 19 That night, General 
Joe Johnston effected a strategic retreat across the Oostenaula 
River. Resaca fell to the Federals and the first important phase 
of the Atlanta campaign came to a successful close. 

Monday morning, May i6th, was to carry sad and bitter mem- 
ories for the regiment. The battle-scarred group, itself afflicted 
vvith heavy losses, was ordered to the battlefield "to bury our own 
and such Rebel dead as we could find." Perfect respect and atten- 
tion attended the brigade's first mass burial, but to Harrison the 
scene was "most appalling" because a "fire had broken out in the 
woods at night and many of our dead were horribly burned which 
gave additional gastliness [sic] to their stiffened corpses." After 
the interment of the last body, Harrison wrote: "we dragged our 
captured cannon to Resaca and turned them over . . . with about 
1200 small arms, to the Ordnance Department." 

In analyzing the part his regiment played in the fight for Res- 
aca, Colonel Harrison rejoiced that "we have no cravens in our 
band"; but he harbored a deep dread that the brigade would be 
censured for retiring amid the confusion on the afternoon of 
May 15. These fears, however, were groundless. General Hooker 
rode up and told Harrison that he regarded the charge as "very 
brilliant and successful," 20 while General Sherman referred to 

i Harrison to General Carman, February 8, 1876, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 
20 Also Hooker to Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War, October 31, 1864, Harri- 
son MSS, A.C. 4950 Add. 


capturing a 4-gun intrenched battery as "handsome fighting on 
the left." 21 Even more valued by Harrison than this praise from 
superiors was the warm personal tribute from the men in the 
ranks. At Resaca, where he "was exposed to death as much as any 
man could be," his own soldiers christened him "Little Ben," a 
sobriquet which in their understanding connoted courage and 
daring, and which clung to him all through the Atlanta cam- 

Congratulations from the home front were not long in catch- 
ing up with Benjamin Harrison and his men. The Cincinnati as 
well as the Indianapolis newspapers carried highly laudatory ac- 
counts of Harrison's Resaca baptism under enemy fire. With the 
possible exception of his wife's warm and appreciative note of 
praise and thanksgiving, no letter pleased Benjamin more than 
his father's. Tremendously encouraged by this paternal approba- 
tion and benediction, Benjamin undertook to reveal his thoughts 
to Carrie. Speaking of the "one from Pa," Harrison wrote: 

He seems to be very proud that I have won some distinction in my 
new profession. I am glad that I have been able to show them all that 
I could hold a creditable place in the army as well as in civil life, and 
that if not the most petted one in the family, its famous name is as 
safe in my keeping as in that of any who now bear the name. We must 
not however think too much of the praises of the newspapers, nor 
forget that to God who sustains me belongs all the honor. 22 

General Sherman, however, expressed bitter disappointment 
over the issue at Resaca. His pride was hurt by the realization 
that Johnston had outmaneuvered him. So complete and so well- 
organized was the Confederate withdrawal from Resaca that 
Sherman found several of his officers, as well as a goodly number 
of his men, on the brink of discouragement. 28 Action, therefore, 
was imperative and Sherman called a meeting of his staff. He 
warned them that Johnston would not be easily overcome and 
that immediate pursuit of the Confederate force was essential. 24 
This decision to hound Johnston until he was trapped was an 

21 R. U. Johnson and C. C. Bud (cds.), Battles and Leaders, IV, Part i, p. 266. 
22 Harrison to his wife, June 14, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 
28 Henry Stone, "The Atlanta Campaign," Papers of the Military Historical 
Society of Massachusetts, 8 (1910), 389. 

24 Walter Hebert. Fiehtine Joe Hooker. D. 276. 


invitation to three months of hard fighting wherein each engage- 
ment was "seemingly hotter than the one preceding." 25 

In less than a month Benjamin Harrison was destined to en- 
gage in more battles than either William Henry Harrison, his 
grandfather, or Andrew Jackson, had fought in a lifetime. 26 

In the final analysis, it was Sherman's dissatisfaction with a 
rather empty victory at Resaca that allowed Harrison to become 
a fighting soldier rather than a mere textbook colonel. Johnston's 
initial escape at Resaca rankled. Even a decade later, Sherman 

Of course, I was disappointed not to have crippled his army at that 
particular stage of the game; but as it resulted . . . rapid successes 
gave us the initiative and the usual impulse of a conquering army. 27 

New Hope Church, Georgia, was the scene of Harrison's first 
serious engagement after Resaca. Here, on May 26-28, the 
Union forces, especially Hooker's Corps, made several fierce at- 
tacks upon the enemy, only to find that the deadly canister-shot of 
sixteen Confederate field pieces and the musketry fire of 5,000 in- 
fantry at short range, made the location a veritable "hell hole." 28 
The Federals sustained heavy losses, as each day Hooker sent part 
of Butterfield's division into action. The Seventieth shouldered 
its share of the burden. On one occasion, as the regiment formed 
its line for an attack, it was compelled to advance across undulat- 
ing fields into rather thin woods. Under a heavy fire from a safely 
secured and almost hidden enemy, the men crawled to a spot 
where the bushes had been cut down so that the top of the en- 
emy's works was visible. Harrison gave the command to fix bayo- 
nets, saying: "Men, the enemy's works are just ahead of us, but 
we will go right over them. Forward! Double-quick! March!" 
Every man sprang forward, several to sudden death. By day the 
battle raged, and by night, when the firing ceased, torches and 
candles threw a dim light over the incoming stretchers, while 
surgeon's tables and instruments formed ghastly silhouettes. 29 

25 Wallace, op. cit. f p. 202. 
2* Ibid. 

27 Sherman, op. cit. 9 II, 36. 

28 Joseph E. Johnston, "Opposing Sherman's Advance to Atlanta," in Johnson 
and Buel, op. cit., Part i, p. 369. Battles and Leaders, Vol. 4, Part i, 269. 

29 These details are from Merrill, op. cit., pp. 124-25. 


On June 15, 1864, at Golgotha Church in the vicinity of Kene- 
saw Mountain, Harrison's regiment executed a charge more dar- 
ing even than those at New Hope Church. Carrie undoubtedly 
shuddered as she read her husband's account written three days 
after the battle: 

My Regiment was advanced without any support to within three 
hundred yards of a strong rebel breastwork where they had eight 
pieces in position and nicely covered and we being entirely exposed. 
We stood there fighting an unseen foe for an hour and a half without 
flinching, while the enemy's shells and grapes fell like hail in our 
ranks, tearing down large trees and filling the air with splinters. Two 
or three of my men had their heads torn off dose down to the shoul- 
ders and others had fearful wounds. 30 

Under orders to hold their position until nightfall, the Seventieth 
did not fail. At the appointed hour, Harrison's men fell back in 
perfect order, taking their dead and wounded with them. The 
skill with which they executed this maneuver would have done 
justice to a veteran regiment, yet the move was almost disastrous, 
for the brigade's surgeons had become separated from the main 
body of troops. The wounded, sheltered in a little frame house 
to the rear of the front lines, waited patiently for relief. When 
the absence of the surgeons was reported to Harrison, Lew Wal- 
lace says the Colonel "turned surgeon himself." 81 This squares 
with the detailed account that Harrison rendered to his wife: 

Our Surgeons got separated from us, and putting our wounded in 
a deserted house, I stripped my arms to dress their wounds myself. 
Poor Fellowsl I was but an awkward suigeon, of course, but I hope I 

gave them some relief. There were some ghastly wounds I pulled 

out of one poor fellow's arm a splinter five or six inches long and as 
thick as my three fingers. 32 

Wallace has painted a vivid description of Harrison in his sur- 
geon's role: 

Taking off his coat and rolling his sleeves to his elbow, he set to 
staunching the wounds. He says, speaking of the circumstances: "I 

30 Harrison to his wife, June 18, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. Harrison charac- 
terized this as a "hard fight" and numbered the losses in killed and wounded at 50 

31 Wallace, op. cit., p. 204. 

32 Harrison to his wife, June 18, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


don't know whether I did any service; I tried to." He caused some 
tents to be torn up for bandages, and worked industriously several 
hours before the surgeons appeared. When they came into the impro- 
vised hospital, they found him covered with the blood which he had 
striven to stop. 83 

Once more the Southern troops were withdrawn in accordance 
with Johnston's plan of strategic retreat. Yet, each Federal victory 
brought Atlanta within closer striking distance. Still more im- 
portant, however, was the excellent fighting spirit created within 
the ranks. Their colonel expressed it well: "I wouldn't like to 
leave my Regiment to the command of another in a fight. I have 
got to love them for their bravery and for dangers we have shared 
together. I have heard many similar expressions from the men 
towards me." 84 Harrison's anxiety, his solicitude, and his sym- 
pathy for every man under his command had not gone unnoticed. 
Consequently, on May 29, 1864, when he became chief of the ist 
Brigade, his promotion was greeted with genuine joy and appre- 
ciation. 85 

Harrison assumed his new responsibility as brigadier just at a 
time when his command was to see its heaviest fighting in a cam- 
paign that was proving "very exhausting to the troops." 86 His 
own health was good, and he added that he could stand the pace 
at least for another month "if a rebel bullet don't come my way." 
It was during the Atlanta Campaign, near Marietta, Georgia, 
that Harrison had become poisoned, "making it necessary for me 
to wear a glove all the time." It is interesting to note that this 
susceptibility to poison in the hand remained with him until his 
death, and it undoubtedly accounts for his wearing kid gloves as 
a source of protection against infection and cold. This practice 
worked to his disadvantage in 1876, while campaigning for the 
governorship of Indiana. He was dubbed the aristocratic "kid- 
gloves" Harrison, and this sobriquet lost him many votes among 
the laboring classes. 

By July yth he had moved with his men to within ten miles 
of Atlanta, Sherman's objective. From the heights "we can see 

88 Wallace, op. cit., p. 204. 

84 Harrison to his wife, June 18, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

85 House Document No. 154, p. 114. 

se Harrison to his wife, July 5, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


the steeples of the churches in Atlanta;" 37 but he hazarded the 
opinion that at least twenty days of hard campaigning remained 
for his weary brigade. The progress was slow and extremely dan- 
gerous. He wrote to Carrie: 

We had a sharp artillery fight on the Marietta road on Sunday last. 
My Brigade was in the advance and lost several men killed. I had 
several very narrow escapes. One shell struck so near me that it threw 
the ground all over me. 88 

In his despatches from the field, Harrison frequently noted 
the wonderful skill that Joe Johnston had demonstrated in erect- 
ing defensive works that were almost impregnable. Johnston, he 
wrote, "has successive lines prepared in advance, or rather in the 
rear, and when we flank him out of one line, he has only to fall 
back to another a few miles to the rear . . . then we are forced to 
make such movements as will force him to retreat again, and so 
the campaign has dragged along." 39 And he could only marvel at 
the way in which Johnston made a safe retreat, thus saving his 
army from demoralization, "though there had not been a sin- 
gle brilliant or successful 'offensive return* since the campaign 

He was equally quick in defending Sherman against critics who 
blamed the Union leader "for what they call inactivity" Harri- 
son challenged Sherman's critics "to serve under him for a few 
days and make a survey of, or an assault on, one of Johnston's 
lines of defensive works and they would take another view of it." 
Undoubtedly, they would have changed their opinion if they had 
been able to read but one paragraph that Harrison penned to his 
wife concerning the peril faced by any column assigned to assault 
a fortified Confederate line: 

... As you have never seen one of these field works, I must try to 
give you an idea of what an assaulting column has to overcome. In 
the first place in advancing you will come at 1000 yards from the 
enemy's works into a "tangle," that is, all the small trees and some 

37 Harrison to his wife, July 7, 1864. Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

38 Ibid. The best military history for this section of the Atlanta campaign is per- 
haps Jacob B. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 89-115. 

89 Harrison to his wife, July 10, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. Other contemporary 
accounts can be found in Merrill, op. cit. t pp. 113-38; Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: the 
Fighting Prophet, pp. 355-66. 

300 yards, you come to an abatis which consists of tree-tops . . . bu 
ends towards you, all the leaves trimmed off and every branch 2 
twig sharpened so that it will catch in the clothes. If you succeed 
getting through this, you will find about 20 yards from the rifle | 
two lines of stakes about 1 2 feet long, set about four feet in the grou 
and inclining towards you, the upper end being sharpened and 
stakes set so close that a man can't pass between them. If you < 
stand the deadly stream of musketry fire until you can dig up or 
down these stakes, you will have no other obstacle save the climb 
of the breastworks and a line of bayonets jetting up inside . . . tl 
[also] have what the boys call "horse rakes" . . . made by boring la 
auger holes through logs 20 feet long or so, at right angles, and p 
ting through them long oaken stakes or pines sharpened at both en 
so that however many times you may turn the thing over, there is 
ways an ugly line of sharpened stakes sticking out towards you. 40 

Harrison concluded this summary with a barb at the civiliz 
who were criticizing Sherman's slow push to Atlanta. "I shoi 
like to see a few thousand of the 'On To Atlanta' civilians of t 
North charging such a line of works. Most of the tender-skin 
[sic] individuals of this class would require help to get into t 
works if they were empty." 

Sherman's relentless push through Georgia during the intei 
heat of June and July, 1864, brought Harrison to a small rid 
just beyond Peach Tree Creek, two miles north of Atlanta, 
this rugged terrain, picturesque in name and in beauty, "C 
Gump" Sherman dug in and made plans to strike another bl< 
at his foe. 41 As in the past weeks, Harrison and Sherman walk 
the skirmish line together. During the past seven weeks of offe 
sive warfare, the colonel had found his superior officer "v* 
companionable and pleasant;" 42 and so, at this last stronghc 
outside of Atlanta, they observed and plotted one more flanki 
movement by which they hoped to entrap the wily Johnston 

40 Ibid. 

41 By the end of May, Sherman counted his losses at 9,000; while Johnston 1 
lost 8,500. Lewis, op. at., p. 364. 

42 Harrison to his wife, May 28, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. Their friends! 
carried over into civil life, and was renewed on many occasions when Senator Jc 
Sherman and Harrison served in the Senate together. 

43 Sherman's skill in flanking awed the Southerners. See Lewis, op. cit., p. 3 




















Although their patience was at an end, this time they determined 
not to assault until they were morally certain of "bagging the 
fox/* They had drawn little consolation from the campaign up 
to this time. An average daily gain of slightly over a mile is not 
the progress that engenders pride in military men. 44 Still more 
annoying was the political significance underlying Johnston's de- 
laying tactics. If he could keep Sherman from winning a victory 
before early November, the Northern peace party would be im- 
measurably strengthened in their effort to carry the presidential 
election. This alone, Johnston believed, "would have brought 
the war to an immediate close." 45 

Military and civilian observers in the South were far from 
agreeing, however, on the wisdom of Johnston's defensive policy. 
Several thought that he had tipped his hand too fully and too 
early. Moreover, the more skeptical civil leaders gave scant cre- 
dence to Johnston's conviction that by slow and skilful retreat- 
ing "he might some day catch Sherman in an awkward position 
and ruin him." 46 Now, as the Southern army fell back upon 
Atlanta, the city Jefferson Davis had pronounced vital to the life 
of the Confederacy, 47 demands were made that Johnston should 
fight or resign. In mid-July, under the pressure of severe criticism 
and at the urging of President Davis, Johnston resigned in favor 
of General John B. Hood, who immediately proclaimed a "fight 
Sherman now-or-never policy." 48 The first opportunity for Hood 
to implement his plan for an offensive thrust was at Peach Tree 
Creek on July aoth. He thought he spied a weak spot in the newly 
formed Union line, and he ordered a surprise attack. The only 
obstacle to a serious break through Union lines was Ward's ist 
Division, and holding the front lines was the brigade commanded 
by Colonel Benjamin Harrison. 

Early on the soth, the Union army had successfully bridged 
Peach Tree Creek, so that by noon the entire army had crossed 
the "unfordable" stream and had extended its line of battle along 

44 Harrison to his wife, May 31, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. His brigade was then 
near Allatoona, and "only about fifty miles from Atlanta." This was the danger 
zone, and Ben admonished Carrie "to look to my insurance ... an additional 
premium may be required." 

45 Lewis, op. cit., p. 366. 

46 Ibid. 

47 Eisenschiml and Newman, op. dt. f p. 619. 

48 Lewis, op. cit., pp. 381-83: "Johnston surrendered his offices to Hood, explain- 
ing with cold courtesy that he had planned to fight Sherman at Peach Tree Creek." 


a ridge about 400 yards from the creek on the south. 49 At first, 
Ward's division was ordered to remain in the creek bottom, fixing 
its line approximately 300 yards to the rear of the remainder of 
the army. This left a gap of a quarter of a mile between Geary's 
division on the right and Newton's on the left. 50 In the eyes of 
Hood's scouts, this slight gap in an otherwise straight and tightly 
drawn line of battle might well have appeared to be a weakness. 
The area directly in front of the ridge was an open field extend- 
ing clear to the rebel lines. In accord with their orders, Ward's 
division had formed behind the ridge at the creek bottom. At 
ease, some men were cooking, some sleeping, and others just re- 
laxing. It was at this moment that the rash and reckless Hood 51 
made his bold bid to knife through Sherman's lines and cut the 
Federal army in two. 

When the first report of the sudden enemy sortie reached Gen- 
eral Ward, who was not only in the rear but also on the far side 
of Peach Tree Creek, he refused to believe that the South was 
taking the offensive. An eye-witness, L. T. Miller, relates the in- 
teresting sequel: 

About this time Generals Coburn and Harrison, each commanding 
a brigade, reported to General Ward their belief that the enemy was 
advancing and would occupy the ridge. General Ward, notwithstand- 
ing this information, and although requested by Harrison and Co- 
burn, declined to give them orders to move their brigades forward. 

At this juncture I heard this conversation between Generals Har- 
rison and Coburn. I was commanding the ggrd Indiana Coburn's 
old Regiment and was on the right of the Regiment. They rode up 
to where I was. General Harrison said to Coburn: "John, I am going 
to place my men on that ridge, if you will support me?" "I'll see you 
through," replied General Coburn, and turning about, ordered me 
to move the ggrd immediately forward, which I did. Just then Harri- 

49 Cox, op. cit., pp. 144-47, gives an excellent description of the geography north- 
east of Atlanta and explains the military importance of the various streams and 
ridges in the vicinity. 

50 The full report is printed in Merrill, op. cit. f pp. 153-59. Harrison gives an 
even more detailed account in his letter to General Carman, February 8, 1876 Har- 
rison MSS, Vol. 7. 

51 Lewis, op. cit., p. 383: "Sherman had at his elbow three men who had known 
Hood intimately at West Point. McPherson, Schofield and Howard agreed that 
Hood, for all his lack of limbs, would attack; in school he had been rash, erratic, 
headstrong, precipitate and not intellectual." 


son put spurs to his horse and dashed forward up the hill, in front of 
his brigade, and both brigades cheering ran rapidly ... up the hill. 52 

It was at this moment that hours of intense study and discipline 
brought their reward. Leading his brigade on the double-quick, 
he issued only one command. He told his veteran troops to en- 
gage the enemy in hand-to-hand fighting, and to re-establish, if 
at all possible, the integrity of the Union line. 53 He waved his 
men forward, shouting: 

Come on boys, we've never been licked yet, and we won't begin 
now. We haven't much ammunition, but if necessary we can give 
them the cold steel, and before we get licked we will club them down; 
so, come on. 54 

Up the slope he led them. Prompt support by Coburn's and 
Wood's brigades enabled Harrison's command to gain the brow 
of the ridge, where the Federals closed with the hard-charging 
enemy, many falling to the ground in hand-to-hand combat. Bay- 
onets, muskets and pistols served as clubs. "Many fell now a flag 
would go down, only to be raised by another the Rebel officers 
were urging their men forward, but the long charge, and our hot 
fire had broken the order of the line." 55 Harrison continued to 
inspire his men and, finally, by his own personal courage and 
leadership, precipitated the final lunge that caused the rebel lines 
to waver. No sooner had they begun to yield ground than they 
were hurled down the far side of the hill. The Union lines held 
firm. Captain H. A. Ford attests: "But for him I think our army 
on that field would have been cut in two, and at least one wing 
of it rolled up and badly shattered." 56 

The day was saved, and, though he probably did not realize it, 
Benjamin Harrison was a hero. On the day after Peach Tree 

52 Indianapolis Daily Journal, July i, 1888, an interview given by L. T. Miller, 
then residing at Wichita, Kansas. In recalling the facts of this bloody struggle, 
he bestowed upon Harrison the title, "Hero of the Battle of Peach Tree Creek." 

53 Capt. H. A. Ford maintained that a breakthrough by the foe, charging down 
a slope on unprepared Union lines, would have created hopeless disorder in the 
Union camp, and the battle would, in all probability, have been lost. Indianapolis 
Journal, July i, 1888. 

Si House Document No. 154, p. 115. 

65 Harrison to General Carman, February 8, 1876, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 

58 Indianapolis Journal, July i, 1888. 


Creek, General Hooker rode the lines manned by the grd Brigade 
of his ist Division. Meeting Colonel Harrison and shaking hands 
with him, "Fighting Joe" blurted out a promise he was quick to 
fulfill: "Harrison, by God, I'll make you a Brigadier for this 
fight." 57 His subsequent warm letter of commendation, directed 
to Secretary of War Stanton on October 31, 1864, was responsible 
for Harrison's promotion to the rank of Brigadier General, Vol- 

I desire to call the attention of the Department to the claims of 
Col. Benjamin Harrison, of the 7oth Indiana Vols., for promotion to 
the rank of Brigadier General, Volunteers. 

Col. Harrison first joined me in command of a brigade of Ward's 
division in Lookout Valley preparative to entering what is called the 
Campaign of Atlanta. My attention was first attracted to this young 
officer by the superior excellence of his brigade in discipline and in- 
struction, the result of his labor, skill and devotion. With more fore- 
sight than I have witnessed in any officer of his experience, he seemed 
to act upon the principle that success depends upon the thorough 
preparation in discipline and esprit of his command for conflict, more 
than on any influence that could be exerted on the field itself, and 
when collision came his command vindicated his wisdom as much as 
his valor. In all of the achievements of the aoth Corps in that campaign 
Col. Harrison bore a conspicuous part. At Resaca and Peach Tree 
Creek the conduct of himself and command were especially distin- 
guished. Col. Harrison is an officer of superior abilities, and of great 
professional and personal worth. It gives me great pleasure to com- 
mend him favorably to the Honorable Secretary, with the assurance 
that his preferment will be a just recognition of his services and mar- 
tial accomplishments. 58 

Promotion, however, was not the most important thing in 
Harrison's mind after the Confederate reverses. His frequent let- 
ters to Carrie manifested an intense longing "to get moored again 
in the sweet and quiet harbor of home." 59 Furloughs, of course, 
were out of the question until Atlanta should capitulate; and 
early in August the prospects for a speedy Union occupation were 
far from bright. Even with Union batteries opening fire on the 
city, the Confederates continued to hold on tenaciously. 

57 Harrison to General Carman, February 8, 1876, Harrison MSS, Vol. 7. 

8 A copy is in the Harrison Collection (Library of Congress), A.C. 4950, the gift 
of A. T. Volwiler. This letter is also cited in full by Wallace, op. cit., p. *sz, and in 
House Document No. 154, p. 1 16. 

59 Harrison to his wife, August 8, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


By mid-August, Harrison's morale had sunk to a new low. The 
siege of Atlanta, especially while Sherman moved south around 
the city, was both boring and annoying to a man who still wanted 
"to fight and go home." He complained to Carrie: 

My life drags along very wearily now, and my heart needs the fre- 
quent refreshing of a good letter from home, and you ought not to 
withhold it from me. The ceaseless care and watching, together with 
the privations and hardships of this campaign of over 100 days has 
exhausted a good deal of my mental and nervous energy; and when 
not worked up by some unusual danger or responsibility, I feel a lit- 
tle depressed and homesick. I want rest, both in heart, mind and body, 
and this I can only get in the temple of my heart at home and in 
some slight degree from your letters. 60 

Carrie's serious illness at,this time caused Harrison great anx- 
iety and left him in particularly low spirits. Though Sherman 
was allowing no able-bodied officers to leave his post, Harrison 
thought that "by hard begging" he might be able to get "a short 
leave of absence," 61 if his wife's condition became more critical. 
Such action, fortunately, proved unnecessary; for on August 20, 
Harrison's thirty-first birthday, word came from Indianapolis 
that Carrie was well along the road to recovery. Harrison's spirits 
went up "in a bound." 62 The news of Carrie's improvement and 
the receipt of two letters from her, coupled with the fact that "it 
is my birthday" suggested many memories and drew from Ben- 
jamin a letter which in his more conservative and less joyous 
moments he would have hesitated to write. It reveals the inner 
thoughts of a man who prided himself on never wearing his heart 
upon his sleeve: 

I feel as if I ought to write today not only to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of these letters . . . but because it is my birthday and suggests 
many memories of the past, among the happiest of which your sweet 
form is closely interwoven. Perhaps you will not remember the day, as 
it is not the anniversary of any event so important to you as to me, but 
still perhaps you will think of me a little oftener and more tenderly 
than usual. I am thirty-one years old today, and nearly eleven years 
of this, we have been man and wife. For how many more years God 
has decreed my life to be lengthened out, He only knows, and whether 

80 Harrison to his wife, August 12, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 
61 Harrison to his wife, August 14, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 
82 Harrison to his wife, August 20, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


they shall be as full of blessings as those that are gone. But whether 
they may be many or few, I hope they will bear witness of a faithful 
discharge of duty both to those I love on earth and my Father in 
heaven. Who is there that could not mend his life, if he could live 
his years over again, and how many think more of the errors of the 
past than of the promise, and of the opportunities of the future. I 
hope to be a better husband and father, a better citizen and a better 
Christian in the future than I have been in the past. 

You may think it strange that I promise nothing to my present 
profession as a soldier. The reason is that I hope my mission as a 
soldier will end before another birthday. Certainly my present term 
of enlistment will expire before next August soth, and unless Gen. 
Hooker should accomplish his threat of making me a Brigadier Gen- 
eral, I will be a citizen again. For after three years of the best service 
I could render, if they don't promote me, I shall think the public does 
not need my help in that department and shall try to help myself in 
some other pursuit. 

The very complimentary notice which Gen. Hooker made of me in 
conversation with Halstead was, of course, very gratifying to me; but 
in all candor I do think "Uncle Joe" was somewhat extravagant and 
hope he will not push me too rapidly, as that has been the ruin of 
more than one good officer in the war. On your account and my chil- 
dren, I should like to wear the "lone star," when I can feel that I have 
won it, but my own ambition does not soar very high; and as such 
favors have been generally obtained through political influence and 
hard begging, I fear we need not look with much confidence to my 
obtaining it. The high compliment which Gen. Hooker has bestowed 
upon me, and the confidence which I have won among the brave 
officers and men of my command is worth more to me than a Brig- 
adier's star, though the public will of course look to the latter as the 
evidence of the former. ... I have talked enough about myself and 
my humble military career. Lest your affection might lend you to ex- 
aggerate my merits as a soldier, let me assure you that I am not a 
Julius Ceasar [sic], nor a Napoleon, but a plain Hoosier Col., with 
no more relish for a fight than for a good breakfast and hardly so 

Write to me often and tell me everything. I am in excellent health; 
and since I have heard of your recovery, in fine and hopeful spirits. 
May God abundantly bless you and the dear children and bring me 
to your arms again when my duty is done. Love to all friends. 68 

Within a fortnight, Atlanta fell. 64 On September 2, 1864, Har- 
rison scribbled the glad tidings to his wife: "Atlanta is ours . . . 

03 Harrison to his wife, August 20, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 
64 For contemporary accounts of the Union occupation after their hard cap* 
paign of three months, see Eisenschiml and Newman, op. cit. f pp. 626-33. 


and I send you a piece of cedar plucked from a door yard in 
Atlanta yesterday.*' 65 Two days later, he wrote: "We have just re- 
ceived a congratulatory order from Gen. Sherman over the oc- 
cupancy of Atlanta and an instruction that the campaign is 
ended/ >6G In the conviction that his troops had earned a rest, 
Sherman gave it to them. Colonel Harrison's long awaited fur- 
lough came in orders to report to Governor Morton for special 
duty. 67 

On the next morning Harrison left Atlanta and reported to 
Morton on September 2Oth. As a military hero he was returning 
to his own people, but to his wife and two growing youngsters 
this meant little or nothing. They could only think that now, 
after two years of continuous service in the field, he was to be 
with them again. In the Harrison home, where joy and thanks- 
giving reigned, only one disturbing thought danced behind three 
pairs of moist eyes: would he go back again? 

65 Harrison to his wife, September 2, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

66 Harrison to his wife, September 4, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

67 Special Field Orders, No. 71; copy in the Harrison MSS, Vol. No. 1065; also, 
Wallace, op. cit., pp. 223-24. 


Twin Triumphs: Indianapolis 
and Nashville 

HARRISON'S RETURN to Indianapolis could not have been 
timed more auspiciously. Widespread dissatisfaction with 
an apparently indecisive and useless war was completely 
swept away by the September flood of Union victories. Scarcely 
had the fall of Atlanta on September 2nd been appreciated, when 
the news of General Phil Sheridan's brilliant victory in the valley 
of the Shenandoah reached the Indiana capital. Newspapers re- 
corded the joy in the "hearts of all true patriots" 1 because, in 
decisively defeating General Jubal Early, Sheridan had dissi- 
pated the serious threat of another Confederate raid on Wash- 
ington. "These triumphs, together with Farragut's capture of 
Mobile, convinced the volatile public that the stalemate was 
broken." 2 No longer were the majority of Hoosiers asking "how 
long the futile bloodshed would continue," and no longer was an 
ear given to the "Democratic cry that the Lincoln Administra- 
tion was a failure." 3 The Republicans were jubilant, and in the 
light of the twin successes they proclaimed that "for us there is 
no step backward." 4 

In the Democratic camp spirits were low. While Harrison was 
journeying homeward, the Republican Indianapolis Journal 
made political capital of this sudden sweep of Union victories. In 
triumph and defiance, the state Republicans claimed that "the 

1 Indianapolis Daily Journal, September 23, 1864. 

2 Wood Gray, The Hidden Civil War, pp. 189-90; also D. S. Freeman, Lee's 
Lieutenants (New York, 1942-44), III, 580-83. 

3 Kenneth Stampp, Indiana Politics during the Civil War, p. 229. 

4 Indianapolis Daily Journal, September 23, 1864. 



echo of every gun fell on Copperhead ears like the death knell 
of their hopes." 5 Such blows at Copperheadism within his own 
state undoubtedly warmed Harrison's heart. He had never fully 
recovered from the shock of his removal as Supreme Court Re- 
porter by a Democratic court in November, 1 862. Though he had 
succeeded in pushing this disappointment into the background 
during his two years of active service, Harrison had not forgiven 
the Copperheads, for he was convinced that their intrigue ac- 
counted for his ouster. Evidently, a good many Republicans 
shared the colonel's belief because, without consulting him, the 
Union State Convention on February 23, 1864, had renominated 
him for this same office. 

Official notice of this did not reach him until nearly six weeks 
after the convention had adjourned. Stationed in Tennessee's 
Lookout Valley, Harrison mulled over the acceptance for three 
weeks. 6 Finally, on April 27, 1864, he reached an affirmative deci- 
sion and made it known in a letter to Jacob T. Wright, Chairman 
of the Union State Central Committee. Harrison's acceptance, 
however, was only conditional. After perfunctory thanks to the 
party leaders for the honor conferred upon him, he felt con- 
strained to express his real feelings on the subject of his candi- 
dacy. Consequently, he wrote the following "open letter" and 
gave his consent to its publication: 

. . . You ask me to signify my acceptance of the nomination. It was 
known to you, and was doubtless known to all the members of the 
Convention, that I vacated the office for which I am now placed in 
nomination, in the summer of 1862, to accept the position I now hold 
in the military service of the country. I did not abandon the office 
then without many regrets; it was in the exact line of my profession, 
agreeable to my tastes and habits, and was reasonably lucrative, much 
more so than my present position. 7 

In several more closely reasoned paragraphs Harrison gave ample 
evidence that the rigors of military life had in no sense dulled his 
legal acumen or his sense of practical patriotism. While he con- 
fessed that "it would meet my highest ambition, if I might be 
permitted to resume the office when this war for our nation's life 

5 Ibid., September 8, 21, 22, 1864. 

6 Harrison to his wife, April 26, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

7 Harrison to Jacob T. Wright, April 27, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


has been closed in the complete triumph of our arms," he at- 
tached one important reservation to an otherwise wholehearted 
acceptance. It was to the Colonel's credit that he added: 

UTiile allurements of home and peaceful pursuits are not to be turned 
aside without an effort, yet I could not reconcile it with my own sense 
of duty to quit the army for any civil office or pursuit, unless incapaci- 
tated by disease or wounds from efficient service in the field. Should 
the war be ended, or virtually so, during the campaign now opening, 
as many hopeful ones believe, or should my usefulness in the army 
be, from any cause brought to an end, then I should be much gratified 
to resume the duties of Reporter. 8 

The Republican leaders acquiesced in Harrison's conditional 
acceptance, disregarding his own suggestion that it might be more 
advisable "that another name be substituted for mine on the 
ticket ... at once." 9 

Once Atlanta was in Union hands, Harrison could start his 
homeward journey. His future political welfare, as well as that 
of Republicans in the state and in the nation, hung in the bal- 
ance. The scales, however, were tipped heavily in his favor. 

Harrison's trip home was not without incident. Accompanied 
by many of the less serious casualties of the Atlanta campaign, 10 
he left Georgia on September 12, 1864. The pace was as rapid 
as war conditions permitted, but the fear of surprise raids by 
roving bands of detached Confederate cavalry considerably de- 
layed the push to the north. Part of the journey was made by 
steamer along the Ohio River. Special warnings had been issued 
that all river transports should be fully armed and should protect 
passengers and property by every means possible. One river cap- 

8 Ibid. Previous to this paragraph Harrison had charged Wright with the respon- 
sibility of seeing that all important party members be informed on the exact state 
of his mind in accepting the nomination. 

9 Ibid. Harrison added that "if you should conclude to retain my name on the 
ticket I shall, if elected, be glad to serve the people in the office of Reporter, pro- 
vided it should then appear that I cannot serve them better in the army." 

10 Governor Morton had pledged to obtain furloughs for Indiana voters on 
active service. Lincoln and the War Department refused his blanket request. Con- 
sequently, Morton, "as a last resource, suggested that all the troops who were unfit 
for service, should be sent home and not be kept in hospitals out of the state. To 
this Lincoln assented/' Consequently, many with only superficial wounds made the 
journey to Indianapolis with Harrison. W. D. Foulke, O. P. Morton, I, 366. 


tain reported that even in this late hour of the war "it was very 
common ... for guerrillas to lie in wait in convenient ambuscades 
along the river for the purpose of killing what people they could 
on the boats, and at various times ... to capture and destroy . . . 
vessels." 11 

As the journey up the Ohio progressed, Harrison experienced 
some of the peace and quiet that he had yearned for so ardently 
during the summer months. He had the companionship of sev- 
eral other officers, though many of these were convalescents. One 
afternoon, while they were all seated at dinner, the usual tran- 
quility of the passage was rudely shattered. As the vessel rounded 
one of the many bends in the Ohio, it ran into an ambuscade. 
4 'Shots from the shore came whistling through the thin sides of 
the dining room, and in a moment all was confusion/' 12 Passen- 
gers scurried for safety. Apparently, the only one who did not 
realize the danger was an attractive young lady. She had been 
seated at the captain's table and, when she heard shots, she left 
the cabin to satisfy her curiosity. Colonel Ritchie, sensing the 
peril of the fair lady, followed her. To his surprise, he found that 
Colonel Harrison was already on the hurricane deck with "a re- 
volver in each hand . . . blazing away with great enthusiasm and 
vigor at the people on the shore." Ritchie claimed that Harrison 
"stood there in a storm of bullets and banged away until the boat 
was out of range." 

This reckless abandon impressed Ritchie the more because, as 
he later reported, the Indiana colonel appeared perfectly uncon- 
scious that he had done anything extraordinary. Whether one 
views Harrison's action as plain foolhardiness or as high gallan- 
try, it matters little; aboard ship, he had become a hero. When the 
story was noised about Indianapolis, the home folks magnified 
the deed out of all proportion. It certainly did not harm Harri- 
son's political chances. 

On September 2Oth, Harrison arrived in Indianapolis. "After 
witnessing," as he said, "the scenes of desolation and decay in the 

11 This is the testimony of Colonel W. T. Ritchie, who was engaged in the 
transportation of army supplies in the West. From an unidentified newspaper dip- 
ping in the Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook, Vol. 9, p. 99, Harrison MSS. 

12 Ibid. The following details are from Ritchie's account. 


track of a great army, the sight of the busy streets and peaceful 
residences of Indianapolis was like a gleam of paradise." 18 Yet, 
once he had greeted his wife and two children, he was compelled 
to admit that "he found himself almost a stranger in his native 
town, lost in a labyrinth of new and eloquent buildings, and the 
busy world of commerce. The growth of the city seemed to be 
the effect of some magician's wand." His fellow citizens gave him 
a warm welcome, and the Indianapolis Journal editorialized the 
return of "Col. Ben Harrison, of the gallant yoth . . . who enjoyed 
an enviable reputation in civil life, which has received a fresh 
luster by his conduct as a soldier." 14 The story of his loss of the 
Reporter's position made fine political capital and was stressed 
with telling effect. 

Within a week of his arrival, the Journal listed a speaking 
schedule that commenced in Lawrenceburg on September sgth 
and carried candidate Harrison to Rockport, Vincennes, and 
Terre Haute. 15 While the Hoosier hero was stumping the south- 
ern and western portions of the state, another military man, one 
also destined for the White House, General James A, Garfield, 
canvassed the northern sector. 16 Although Indiana was far from 
realizing the fact in 1864, presidential timber abounded in that 
state campaign, as Andrew Johnson was also one of the more 
prominent orators for the Republican cause. 17 

After his first speech in the familiar environment of Lawrence- 
burg, Harrison knew that he was in for a stiff fight. He found that 
the Democrats, bitterly incensed by the "sensational and effective 
expos6 of the Sons of Liberty or the Knights of the Golden Cir- 
cle," 18 were now aroused to vindictive fervor in prosecuting the 

is Indianapolis Daily Journal, October 20, 1864. This was the occasion of Harri- 
son's famous speech at the Tabernacle for the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. 

14 The editorial note was published in the Indianapolis Daily Journal, Thurs- 
day, September 29, 1864, under the caption: "Our Soldier Candidate." It added: 
"Col. Harrison abandoned the lucrative and pleasant office of Reporter of the 
Supreme Court for the toils and dangers of the battlefield. The late Union State 
Convention nominated him for re-election, and during his brief furlough, he will 
visit as many points as practicable and address the people. The Colonel is an excel- 
lent speaker and will do good service on the stump, as he has on the battlefield." 

IB Harrison's speaking appointments appeared on the front page of the Indian- 
apolis Daily Journal, from September 27th until October 4th. 

18 Indianapolis Daily Journal, September 27, 1864. Garfield was listed as speak- 
ing at Peru, Rochester, Ply-mouth, Westville, and South Bend. 

IT Stampp, op, cit., p. 237. 

18 J. P. Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, I, 236. Stampp, op. tit., pp. 149-50, points 
out that the Knights of the Golden Circle supposedly sprang from the parent stem 


state campaign. While some Republican orators delighted in tag- 
ging each and every Democrat as charter members in these or- 
ganizations suspected of treason, the Democrats themselves raised 
the cry of Republican dictatorship and military despotism. The 
fight in the press was just as fierce as it was in the hustings. The 
Daily State Sentinel, in championing the Democrats, featured 
several vitriolic editorials. The Sentinel warned its patrons that 
"every vote cast for Morton and the Republican candidates is an 
endorsement of the corruptions, the frauds, the reckless extrava- 
gance, and the suicidal policy of Lincoln and his adherents." 19 
Though the issue was stated as a choice between free government 
under the Democrats or military despotism under the Republi- 
cans, the campaign was hotly waged over the personalities in- 
volved. Three days before election, Democrats were strongly 
urged to vote out "their worthless public servants, Morton and 
Lincoln. They have both been tried and found wanting." 20 

Public opinion, however, leaned heavily to the Republicans. 
The successful overthrow of a group suspected of treason and 
almost wholly identified with the Democratic party practically 
guaranteed Republican success at the polls, both in the impor- 
tant October state elections and in the November national con- 
test. 21 Before the victory at Atlanta, Union speakers elaborated 
the theme that the "ballot of loyal men would have to sustain the 
armies in the field; a vote for the Administration was a vote 
squarely against secession and secession sympathy, and against 
the rebellion." 22 After the military successes in September, Har- 
rison and many local army officers stumped the state and "gave 
additional testimony to the unity of the soldiers behind Governor 

in the Confederacy itself, and was the most publicized of the local "treasonable" 

19 Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel, October 11, 1864. The editorial columns 
savagely attacked Morton as "the most desperate and unscrupulous politician that 
ever disgraced the political station in Indiana. From the date of his first apostasy 
from the Democratic party, and his advocacy of the Know-Nothing faction and its 
prescriptive dogmas, he has been head and front of the wiliest conspiracies against 
liberty. He has stopped at nothing to accomplish his purposes." 

*0jftjd v October 8, 1864. 

21 See Kenneth M. Stampp, "The Milligan Case and the Election of 1864 in 
Indiana," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 31 (1944-45), 41-58. Also Felix G. 
Stidger, Treason History of the Order of the Sons of Liberty (Chicago, 1903). 

22 Stampp, Indiana Politics during the Civil War, p. 237. 


Morton and the Union Party." 23 The political situation was most 
closely approximated by the Daily Journal: 

As the election approaches, the people are preparing to vindicate 
the policy of an Administration that has struggled through the most 
appalling difficulties, and has with defiant front encountered rebels 
in arms and traitors at home, overcoming the one and confounding 
the machinations of the other. An Administration dear to all true 
and loyal men, successful, glorious, just in the act of binding the 
Republic in an eternal union, will never be deserted. 24 

For Harrison, political haranguing was a mixed pleasure. Even 
before his return from the field and before his actual presence on 
a political rostrum, he had confided to his wife: 

I think the Union papers and speakers are making too much noise 
and parade about the treasonable designs of the Copperheads. It 
would be better to say less and do more ---- In my opinion the place 
for our loud talking Union men to fight the Copperheads is here 
before Atlanta and before Richmond. If they would fill the call and 
give Sherman one hundred thousand and Grant three hundred thou- 
sand, we could take in Hood and his whole army . . . , and Grant 
would soon have Richmond and then the Copperheads would be 
dead and no one would know who killed them. 25 

Here was a man after Governor Morton's own heart. Harrison 
was not only interested in winning the election, but he desired 
to fill the Union ranks without resorting to a draft. Consequently, 
when the colonel of the Seventieth Indiana reported to Morton 
for special orders on September 20, 1864, he was given a twofold 
assignment to commence immediately after his brief furlough. 
First of all, he was ordered to support his candidacy and his party 
by electioneering; secondly, he was to canvass the state for re- 
cruits. Harrison found this twofold task entirely to his liking, 
especially his commission to recruit. 26 It is interesting to note 
that in one of his last letters before his furlough Col. Harrison 
had written to Indianapolis: "I would like to make a speech to 
one of your large enthusiastic Union meetings in the Circle. The 

24 Indianapolis Daily Journal, September 23, 1864. 

25 Harrison to his wife, August 24, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

26 House Document No. 154, p. 116. 


first thing that I would say would be 'Gentlemen, everyone of 
you over 18 and under 45 years ought to be in the army, instead 
of sitting here among these patriotic ladies." 27 He was correct in 
surmising that such language would not win him much popu- 
larity, especially among the able-bodied Republicans who had 
not seen active service. Nevertheless, he was convinced that such 
a blunt statement would mirror perfectly the "feelings of those 
who are separated from their families, not singing 'rally round 
the flag,' but rallying around it, and dying in its defense." 28 He 
added: "I really begin to feel contempt for those who talk so 
eloquently for the Union and won't come and fight for it. I begin 
to believe that the only genuine patriotism in the country is 
found among the old men, the ladies and the soldiers." However 
strong Harrison's feelings may have been on this subject, no evi- 
dence appears either in the press or in his own letters that he 
ever voiced his challenge. 

As the campaign drew to a close, Morton, Harrison and the 
Republican-Union ticket worked feverishly. For Morton, victory 
would vindicate his wartime measures, and for Harrison it would 
be a clear sign of popular repudiation of his ouster by the Su- 
preme Court. On election day, Tuesday, October 11, 1864, the 
Democrats played their last trump against candidate Harrison. 
On its second page, the Sentinel carried an editorial headed: 
"Hon. J. Scott Harrison of Ohio." 

This distinguished citizen and patriot, the father of a gentleman 
who is running in this state on the Abolition ticket for Supreme Court 
Reporter, assures the Democratic Executive Committee, of Hamilton 
County, Ohio, that he is with "the Democracy in this contest, and 
will support tie October and November Democratic tickets." The 
honorable gentleman, if he lived in Indiana, would not therefore, 
vote for his own son. 29 

The parting shot by the Republicans was an election day re- 
minder that Napoleon B. Taylor, Harrison's opponent, was a 
"third degree member of the treasonable order of the Sons of 

27 Harrison to his wife, August 24, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 


29 Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel, October 11, 1864. 


Liberty." 30 There is no way of calculating the effect of these last- 
minute attacks. We do know, however, that the Hoosier elector- 
ate supported Morton and Harrison by giving them a 20,000 
margin of victory. 31 

Indiana was now almost solidly Republican, and to show his 
appreciation Morton staged a tremendous victory rally at Indian- 
apolis on October 14th. The re-elected governor made the prin- 
cipal address, keynoting his remarks with the claim that the State 
Republican triumph "had dealt the rebels a staggering blow." 82 
No one left the rally that evening without sharing Morton's con- 
viction that Lincoln would defeat McClellan in the coming presi- 
dential election, and that the President's re-election would virtu- 
ally end the war. 33 Lest over-confidence pervade the Republican 
ranks, the party organ warned every voter in the state: 

Let no one suppose that because one battle has been gained there 
is no more work to be done. The fight has just begun in good earnest, 
and from this time until after Abe and Andy have been elected by 
an overwhelming majority, the walls of the Tabernacle will echo 
three nights in a week with the voices of Union speakers and the 
cheers of a Union audience. 84 

Ben Harrison's was the first voice heard in the hall known as 
the Tabernacle. With neither his knowledge nor his consent, on 
October 19, 1864, an announcement appeared: "Meeting at the 
Tabernacle. . , . Ben Harrison Speaks Tonight." 35 Surprised and 
chagrined by so brief a warning, Harrison had no choice but to 
accept. When he arrived, the strains of Lozier's new victory song, 
"Have You Heard from the People," were still echoing. 

Harrison opened his remarks by launching a savage attack 
against the Copperheads, "the men who are making such an out- 
cry about the burdens of war," yet "bear none of them." He was 
cheered when he said that "those who bear the burdens the 

30 Indianapolis Daily Journal, October 11, 1864. 

31 Stampp, Indiana Politics, p. 253. The Republicans won control of the Gen- 
eral Assembly and elected 8 of the 11 Congressmen. 

32 Foulke, op. cit., 370. 

83 Indianapolis Daily Journal, October 15, 1864. 

34 Jbid. f October 19, 1864, 

35 Ibid., October 19, 1864. 


brave soldiers in the field make no complaint." "Copperheads," 
he continued, 

have a great deal to say about the cruelties of war. It is a cruel war- 
preeminently cruel cruel in its inception, as being against a govern- 
ment which only touched subjects to bless them; cruel in its savage 
ferocity with which it is waged on the part of the rebels; cruel in that 
it has brought desolation and grief to the hearthstone of almost every 
household in the land. But all these horrors should not affright us, 
or make us hesitate one moment in our duty. 86 

In reviewing the origin and the cause of the war, Harrison 
maintained that the North had not wanted war, and had held 
back so long "before it took up the gauntlet so defiantly flung 
in its face, that it looked like timidity." Now that the issue was 
squarely joined, he said, there could be no turning back. Harri- 
son was not speaking for himself. He protested that he repre- 
sented the "voice of the men who have borne the burden" and 
who have just voted to "crush the rebellion." With respect to the 
doctrine of state sovereignty as one of the principal articles in the 
creed of the Democratic Party, Harrison characterized it as a most 
"dangerous heresy, and a deadly poison to national life." He 
called upon the people of Indiana to repudiate this doctrine in 
the national elections. To his statement that state supremacy 
could be practically blocked by suppressing the rebellion and 
theoretically blocked by defeating the Democratic Party, his au- 
dience gave whole-hearted approval. 

By far the most popular part of Harrison's speech was his strong 
defense of President Lincoln. Charging that objections to the 
presidential policy were being made in the interest of treason, 
the colonel high-lighted his remarks by declaring that "the prog- 
ress of Mr. Lincoln has been but the progress of the people." 
He even went so far as to say that the President's Emancipation 
Proclamation "did but reflect the will of the people which clearly 
demanded a change of policy." Throughout the remainder of 
his address Harrison gave testimony to the benefits that followed 
upon that proclamation. Witness, he said, Sherman's long line 
of communication, "where black men, in a hundred ways, did the 
work which would have otherwise fallen upon our brave sol- 

36 ibid., October 20, 1864. 


liers." This section of his speech was a well-phrased eulogy on 
he Negro's part in the war. "Not a negro has escaped and made 
tis way into our camps but has brought more aid to our cause 
ban the entire brood of whining, carping Copperheads who ob- 
sct, in the interest of treason, to the employment of the black 

The Journal report called Harrison's effort "eloquent and pro- 
Dund." His audience, however, most probably remembered this 
peech as one of Harrison's most partisan harangues. The bloody 
tiirt was in evidence, as the little colonel swung into a fiery per- 
ration. He declared that, if McClellan were elected, "the Cop- 
erheads would strip the uniforms from the backs of these dusky 
Dldiers and send them back to slavery." Although he was against 
ivoluntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, in his 
yes the sin of Southern traitors was so deep and damning "that 
enturies of servitude could not atone for it." He went further, 
:ating that, if, after the war, anyone must be enslaved, "he was 
i favor of making the traitor white a slave to the loyal black." 
'artisan statements like these Harrison was to regret, especially 
uringhis presidency. His invective in 1864, however, drew loud 
tieers from the audience. As they heard the hardened soldier 
ealing death-blows to the persons of his political opponents, the 
rowd no longer remembered him as the calm and conservative 
arrister of two years back. 

As the presidential canvass wore into its final phase, Harrison 
oubled his effort in behalf of Lincoln. Whether he spoke in 
nail towns or in large cities mattered not at all. 87 His long ex- 
erience on the stump made him a valuable asset to Lincoln's 
mse. Finally, on November 7th, Indiana joined her sister states 
i the North in giving Lincoln a popular majority of 400,000 
Dtes over McClellan; 88 the Hoosier majority was 20,000. Morton 
nd Harrison were delighted with the results, for Republicanism 
as now firmly entrenched in both state and nation. 89 To the 

87 The Indianapolis Daily Journal, October 26, 1864, listed Harrison as speaking 
Columbia City, Whitney County, November i; Warsaw, Kostiusko Co., Novem- 
ar 2; Lafayette, November 3; and Newport, Vermillion Co., November 4. 

38 James G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 621-253. Though the 
ection was hailed as a landslide, there were large minorities for McClellan in New 
ork, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. 

39 Stampp, Indiana Politics, p. 253. 


war hawks of 1864, Lincoln's re-election brought complete assur- 
ance of a fight to the finish. 40 

The question of Harrison's return to active service now con- 
fronted the colonel's superiors, his friends, and above all, his 
family. Morton was uncertain in what office Harrison could ren- 
der the best service; Indianapolis friends who had cast their bal- 
lots for him wanted Harrison to remain in order to take up his 
duties as supreme court reporter; his family did not interfere, 
but the colonel knew their secret thoughts. Deeply gratified by 
his re-election, he weighed the possibility of resigning his com- 
mission. His first love was the courtroom, though he had grown 
very fond of the men in the Seventieth Indiana. The promise of 
profound peace at home strongly urged him to an immediate ac- 
ceptance of the Reporter's position. 

Harrison's die was cast, though he did not know it, on the day 
of his loudest acclaim in Indianapolis. While Republicans were 
congratulating themselves on Harrison's firebrand address in the 
Tabernacle, two events in the South conspired to effect his speedy 
return to the fighting front. One was a Confederate council of 
war held at Gadsden, Alabama, on October 20, 1864; the other, a 
special letter from General Ward, Harrison's former command- 
ing officer, to Governor Morton. 41 

Ward was now in Nashville, Tennessee, serving with the army 
of General George H. Thomas. 42 With undisguised concern, the 
Kentuckian told Morton that veteran substitutes were needed 
from the Indianapolis area. Moreover, with a frankness bred from 
familiarity with Harrison, Ward asked Morton to assign the 
colonel to the task of filling up the "ggrd, the 7oth and the 8sth 
Indiana Regiments." Morton agreed, and Harrison, already en- 
gaged in recruiting, now doubled his efforts to sign up veterans 

40 Randall, op. cit., p. 624, points out: "On the main issues of the day Lincoln 
and McCIellan were not opposites. They agreed essentially as to reconstruction. 
There was no peace-at-any-price ballot in the election." 

41 S. K. Harryman to Col. Benj. Harrison, October 20, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
5. On the council at Gadsden, see John P. Dyer, The Gallant Hood (Indianapolis, 
1950), pp. 281-82. 

42 On September 29, 1864, Sherman had sent Thomas to Chattanooga and Nash- 
ville to reorganize the middle Tennessee defenses against the forays of Nathan B. 
Forrest. Hooker's old 2oth Army Corps and, therefore, Harrison's old command, 
were left at Atlanta. Dyer, op. cit. f p. 280. 


for at least a short term of service, if not for the duration. As for 
Harrison's return to active duty, Ward instructed his adjutant to 
write the colonel a personal letter, 43 in which he argued that, even 
if Harrison had committed himself to the people of Indiana by 
agreeing to accept the office of supreme court reporter, the pro- 
posed promotion to brigadier general would relieve him from 
such obligations. Ward craftily added that "with the recommen- 
dations already forwarded, a word from the Governor to the 
President would probably be sufficient to obtain the promotion." 
With Hooker, Ward, and Morton active in his behalf, Harrison 
knew his promotion was certain, despite the fact that the waters 
passing through official channels frequently move slowly. While 
this praise from superior officers was most satisfying, the compli- 
ment offered by the men in the ranks was undoubtedly a source 
of even greater consolation. They wanted his return to command 
either in his "present or in superior rank." 44 

Ward's message all but compelled Harrison to return immedi- 
ately. The event, however, that protracted Harrison's destiny as 
a soldier was the all-night strategy conference between Gen- 
erals Beauregard and Hood. There, a new Southern strategy was 
born. Hood was going into Tennessee with "a hope to establish 
our line eventually in Kentucky." 45 This bit of daredeviltry on 
the part of the Texan, John Bell Hood, was to be executed by 
the same courageous Confederate army that had been compelled 
to evacuate Atlanta. The last hope of the Confederate cause in 
the West rested squarely on the shoulders of the towering blond- 
haired veteran of Gettysburg and Chickamauga, whose left arm 
dangled almost useless at his side, and whose right leg was little 
more than a stump. The task of stopping Hood fell to General 
George H. Thomas. Sherman had grown tired of chasing the 
Texan who could "turn and twist like a fox, and wear out my 
army in pursuit"; 46 instead, he faced his army about and began 
his destructive march to the sea. 

43 S. K. Harryman (Ward's adjutant and secretary) to Harrison, October 20, 1864. 
Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

44 Ibid. Morton may have fulfilled his part in Harrison's promotion by a verbal 
recommendation to President Lincoln. No written document has been uncovered. 

45 Dyer, op. cit., p. 281. 

4 Henry Stone, "Repelling Hood's Invasion of Tennessee," R. U. Johnson and 
CL C. Buel (eds.), Battles and Leaders, IV, 441. 


Once he had determined to return to the battlefield, Harrison 
lost no time in leaving Indianapolis. On the day after Lincoln's 
re-election, November 8, 1864, he entrained for the South, ac- 
cording to orders, 47 to join his regiment at Atlanta and march 
with Sherman to the sea. Harrison, however, never made contact 
with the goth Army Corps at Atlanta, and consequently, never 
shared with his comrades of the Seventieth Indiana the feeling 
that "they had a part in driving the dagger into the heart of the 
Rebellion." 48 

Wallace records that "the failure of a hack to make connection 
with a southgoing train at Indianapolis" prevented Harrison 
from joining his command. Taking the next train, he got as far 
as Dalton, Georgia, only to find the railroad torn up and further 
progress impossible. While at Dalton, Harrison was ordered to 
report to General Charles Cruft at Chattanooga where he was 
immediately given command of the ist Brigade. 49 Upon his ar- 
rival there, he found several other contingents cut off from their 
regular commands, and assembled there by special order. 50 In 
command of what was soon to be called a provisional detachment 
was Major General James B. Steedman, a veteran of Chickamauga 
fame. 51 Though this odd assortment of troops had been hastily 
thrown together to answer Thomas' call for more strength, it was 
welded rapidly into a sharp fighting unit, ready to march at a 
moment's notice. 

The moment was not long in coming. All during Sherman's 
march through Georgia the impetuous Hood was unfolding his 
plans for a counter-offensive in Tennessee. During the last week 
of November, Hood tried desperately to prevent Schofield from 
effecting a union with Thomas at Nashville. The Texan was con- 
vinced that, if he could block this important junction of two 
large Union armies, "complete victory would be in Confederate 

47 "Executive Dept., Indianapolis, Indiana, November 9, 1864: Col. Ben Harri- 
son, yoth Ind. Vols., having discharged the special duty under the within orders is 
hereby relieved from duty and will report to his regiment O. P. Morton, Gov. of 
Indiana," Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

48 Samuel Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana, p. 213. 

49 Lew Wallace, Life of Gen. Ben Harrison, pp. 234-25. 
50/frd v p. 225. 

51 Among the troops listed in this provisional detachment were the ist and 2nd 
Colored Brigades under the respective commands of Col. Thomas J. Morgan and 
Col. Charles R. Thompson. Johnson and Buel, op. cit., Battles and Leaders, IV, 473. 


hands and Hood's dazzling dream of marching to the Ohio and 
then joining with Lee would come true. Such a victory would 
completely neutralize Sherman in Georgia and compel him to 
abandon the state. Get in between Schofield and Thomas; whip 
the former; then turn on the latter and take Nashville. That 
was Hood's plan." 52 This bit of Southern strategy, brilliantly con- 
ceived, met with dismal failure in execution. During the night 
of November 29, 1864, Schofield's large and well-equipped army 
successfully slipped from under the very nose of General Hood 
and bivouacked along the Columbia Pike near Spring Hill. 58 
When dawn broke on the goth, a chagrined and mortified Hood 
swore that he would avenge his humiliation. Then and there he 
determined to catch his elusive foe immediately and deal him a 
crippling blow. 54 

From early morning to late afternoon on the goth, Hood and 
Cheatham drove their men in pursuit of Schofield. Just eighteen 
miles south of Nashville, Schofield was compelled to rest his weary 
troops. He called a halt at Franklin, selecting an excellent defen- 
sive position and fortifying it well. 55 At about 3:00 P.M., Hood 
made contact with Schofield's skirmish line. Never one to delay, 
Hood, against the advice of his staff officers, immediately issued 
the tragic command: "Drive the enemy from his position into 
the river at all hazards." 56 There followed a series of desperate 
attacks that served only to immortalize Southern valor. The at- 
tack was a costly failure: Hood lost well over 6,000 men; Scho- 
field, only 2,ooo. BT 

On the night that Schofield eluded Hood, Harrison's bri- 
gade was ordered from Chattanooga to Nashville to re-enforce 
Thomas against Hood. Save for a few necessary garrison guards, 
Chattanooga was evacuated of able-bodied troops in response to 
Thomas' call for more men. No one had to inform Harrison 

52 Dyer, The Gallant Hood, p. 285. Thomas' army was scattered all over Tennes- 
see, the largest unit being his own force of some 18,000, in and around Nashville, 
and the forces of Schofield and Stanley, at Pulaski, numbering some 155,000. 

54 A. J. Lewis, "Into Tennessee," New Orleans Times-Democrat, March 5, 1893, 
as quoted in Dyer, op. dt., p. 289. 

55 Henry Stone, "Repelling Hood's Invasion of Tennessee," Johnson and Buel, 
op. cit., IV, 450. 

56 John Bell Hood, Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United 
States and Confederate Armies (New Orleans, 1880), p. 293. 

57 Randall, op. at., p. 675. 


just how serious was Hood's threat on Nashville. Moving troops 
and empty towns were evidence enough. The march was hard; 
food and fuel were scarce, "for hardly any part of the western 
country had been foraged upon as much as middle Tennessee." 68 

Harrison and his brigade arrived at Nashville at a propitious 
moment. General Thomas' headquarters reflected the joy that 
reigned in the city from the moment of Hood's serious reverse 
at Franklin. Though the gallant Confederate leader was laying 
siege to the city, there was an air of expectancy and triumph about 
the Union camp. Both Thomas and the recently arrived Schofield 
extended a warm welcome to General Steedman and his provi- 
sional detachment of over 5,000 men. Harrison said that Thomas 
knew Steedman as a fighting man and was determined that he 
should play an important r61e in the battle for Nashville, now 
looming larger and larger. 59 Both Thomas and Hood were poised 
to strike at the end of the first week in December, but the weather 
turned fiercely cold and sleet turned into snow and ice. 60 Harri- 
son wrote to his wife: "If Hood falls back, we will, of course, 
follow him, and if this weather continues, it will be a terrible 
campaign." 61 

The freezing weather continued, and there was little activity 
in either camp. Acute suffering 'afflicted both armies, some sol- 
diers dying on the picket line, and a good many others were so 
badly frost-bitten that they never recovered. 62 Harrison felt a 
personal responsibility for the men under his command, search- 
ing by day "to supply my command with wood to keep them 
from freezing." 63 At night, he walked the picket lines, dispensing 
from a large can the hot coffee that he himself had prepared. This 
special act of kindness was never forgotten in the circle of Har- 
rison's friends in the post-war years. 64 Despite the hatreds of war, 
Harrison also felt keenly for the ill-clad foe under Hood. To 
Carrie he mused: "If the rebels are not well clothed, they must 

58 Freeman Cleaves, Rock of Chickamauga, p. 253. 

C9 Harrison to his wife, December 9, 1864, Harrison MSS, VoL 5. 

so Dyer, op. dt. f p. 298. 

61 Harrison was quite disconsolate over the fact that most of Carrie's letters 
to him were not coining through, but "were hidden away in the accumulating 
Chattanooga mail." Harrison to his wife, December 9, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

62 Wallace, op. cit. f p. 227. 

63 Harrison to his wife, December 12, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

64 Wallace, op. tit., p. 227, cites the typical gratitude of one of these pickets, 
Richard Smock. 


be suffering immensely from cold and exposure . . . both sides 
seem to be ice-bound/' 65 

While both sides waited patiently for the weather to break, 
Harrison found time as well as topics for speculation. As usual, 
his wife was the confidante of those battles that are fought within 
the heart and never find their way into official reports or records. 
"I am getting along pretty well with my new command, but I am 
still very anxious to get to my proper one." He also wondered 
about his promotion to brigadier general, reluctant at the same 
time to go to General Thomas' headquarters and to make in- 
quiries about himself. He concluded, finally, to "wait till I hear 
of what is done at Washington and keep my expectations in check 
in the meanwhile/' 66 

All during this enforced delay, the impatient and exacting 
Grant kept wiring from Virginia that he wished Thomas to 
launch an immediate attack upon Hood. 67 

On December igth, when a moderation of weather brought 
increased activity in Hood's camp, an attack was imminent. Gen- 
eral Steedman, in charge of the left-wing defenses of the city, or- 
dered Harrison's brigade to erect and fortify a breastwork cover- 
ing the entire front of his line. All of the igth and part of the 
i4th, they slaved to accomplish their assignment. Harrison later 
reported that the patriotism and warm co-operation of the citi- 
zenry made their task successful, and made them fight "like 
tigers for that . . . land." 68 He also tells how it was necessary to 
cut across and even appropriate civilian property in this work. 
He seems to have won a lifelong friend in the person of Judge 
Trimble, who gave Harrison an American flag to use for his gar- 
rison colors, adding, "Colonel, if it is necessary for the defense 
of Nashville, take the bottom brick in my house." 

The battle of Nashville began at dawn on December 15, 1864. 
Late the night before, Thomas carefully outlined his plans for 
battle. Harrison, as a part of Steedman's force, was to move at 
daylight against Cheatham, commanding the Confederate right. 
A. J. Smith's corps was scheduled to make a simultaneous attack 

65 Harrison to his wife, December 12, 1864, Harrison MSS, Vol. 5. 

67 Cleaves, op. dt. f p. 259. Also Randall, op. cit. f p. 675. "Grant sent urgent but 
unheeded orders to Thomas demanding a battle, and finally sent Logan to super- 
sede him." Thomas attacked, however, before Logan arrived on the scene. 

68 Wallace, op. tit., p. 226. 


on the Confederate left under Stewart. Thomas assigned General 
T. J. Wood to center as the pivot for the flanking movement. 
General Schofield was to be held in reserve for use wherever 
needed. 69 In the face of an early morning fog, 70 Steedman moved 
out cautiously against Cheatham, with Harrison's brigade in the 
lead. Behind the Hoosier colonel moved the two Negro brigades. 

Skirmishers from Harrison's brigade thrust aside enemy pick- 
ets and attempted to charge a Confederate battery planted in a 
rocky ravine, but Cheatham's men did not yield on the i5th. De- 
spite this, the Union army achieved a decided advantage at the 
end of the first day's fighting. No little credit was given to Steed- 
man's provisional detachment; it "had more than accomplished 
its first day's task." 11 

That night a badly battered Hood dug in for the last time. 
Falling back two miles to hills strongly fortified, the courageous 
Southern leader completely realigned his forces in both wings, 
and contracted his battle line from six miles to three. Cheatham 
was now sent to bolster the badly shattered left wing. At dawn 
the battle was renewed, but by noon the die was cast. As soon as 
the North attacked Hood's left from front and rear, the Confed- 
erate cause was lost. The fatal breakthrough was quick in 
coming. Then the disastrous rout began. "Nobody knows who 
followed whom to the rear. All were mingled in inextricable con- 
fusionthe Army of the Tennessee had degenerated into a mob 
clawing its way down the Franklin Pike toward safety." 72 

General Thomas despatched all available infantry and cavalry 
in pursuit of Hood. Harrison's brigade, which had been trans- 
ferred to reserve, was affected by these general orders and was 
directed to march to Murfreesboro, "there take the trains and 
push forward with the utmost speed." 73 His mission was clear- 
cut. He was to try to reach the Tennessee River before Hood, 
and by destroying pontoons was to intercept the rebel retreat. 

69 Official Records, Series I, Vol. XLV, Part i, p. 38. Thomas's complete strategy 
is contained in his report of January 20, 1865. 

70 Cleaves, op. cit., p. 262. 

71 Ibid., p. 264. 

72 Dyer, op. cit., p. 301. Cleaves, op. cit., p. 267, indicates that the two-day battle 
cost the Confederate army 13,189 men, including 4462 prisoners, as well as 53 guns; 
the Union loss was set at 3,057. 

7 Wallace, op. cit., p. 228. 


Although Harrison's command undertook the chase southward 
with great enthusiasm, they found it extremely difficult. Partially 
covered by Forrest's cavalry, the fleeing foe had hastily organized 
a rear guard which gave some semblance of order to their retreat. 
With remarkable skill, Hood's retiring columns threw every pos- 
sible obstacle in the path of the Federal pursuers. Harrison's 
chase was effectively stalled by rail, as alert Confederates burned 
wood piles and destroyed water tanks. Only at the cost of precious 
hours could he detail ax-men to chop up rails to feed the engine. 
Further delay ensued while "creek buckets were used to fill the 
tanks with water." 74 Only late on the morning of December i7th 
could the Union pursuers make effective contact with the enemy, 
and, even then, brave bands of Louisianians stubbornly stood 
their ground, successfully breaking the impact of the Federal as- 
sault. In later years Harrison appreciated the Southern courage 
that staved off certain disaster to a barefoot infantry sliding as 
fugitives along icy roads. 

The pattern of pursuit did not vary, because rear guard Con- 
federate forces fought and fell back again and again for the next 
seven days, with Federal pursuers only a few hours behind Hood 
all the way. Try as they would, Harrison's slower infantry could 
not catch up with the enemy. The roads were either glazed with 
ice or "bottomless with mud," while many of the streams could 
only be "crossed by wading." 75 Prospects of intercepting the en- 
emy grew dimmer by the day, and there seemed little chance of 
bagging Hood's remnants. 

The capricious weather continued, and in the rain, ice, and 
mud the gap between the pursuers and the pursued widened. 
Finally, on Christmas Eve, the cavalcade of Confederates safely 
crossed the Tennessee River. Notwithstanding this failure to 
achieve their principal mission, Steedman's division and Harri- 
son's brigade pushed forward in the ardent hope of striking a 
final blow at the once-magnificent fighting machine of General 
Hood. Arriving at the banks of the Tennessee, the Federals had 
to bridge the river in the face of a hostile battery. This they suc- 
cessfully accomplished, continuing their almost hopeless pursuit 
to Decatur, and as far as Courtland, Alabama. 76 Here the Union 

w ibid. 

p. 229. 


cavalry did their best work of the whole pursuit. After they had 
destroyed an important pontoon bridge, they were able to flank 
a large remnant of Hood's army. The Southerners who stood to 
fight it out received a sound drubbing. Despite this modicum of 
success, Harrison and the slower infantry never again caught 
sight of Hood. 

On New Year's Eve the campaign ended officially, and Har- 
rison's contingent was recalled. 77 While Thomas ordered most 
of his army into winter quarters, Harrison was directed first to 
report to General Cruft at Chattanooga, where, on January 16, 
1865, he received from Major General Thomas the command 
that warmed his heart: "Col. Ben Harrison, 70* Indiana In- 
fantry, will proceed without delay to Savannah, Ga. and rejoin 
his proper command for duty." 78 For more than two weeks he 
had waited impatiently for these orders to rejoin General Sher- 
man at Savannah, the city that had been given to President Lin- 
coln as a Christmas present. 79 If Sherman was already dreaming 
of the hour when he could march North and unite his army 
"with that of General Grant before Richmond," Harrison was 
looking beyond Richmond and the surrender of the South. His 
eye and his heart were set upon Indianapolis. 

When he was packed and ready to begin his trip to Georgia, 
Harrison received belatedly but willingly a handsome Christmas 
gift from Major General Thomas. His orders were reissued to 
allow him a brief furlough at Indianapolis, whence he was to 
entrain for New York, and then proceed by steamer to Savannah. 
This unexpected leave to visit Carrie and the children was a real 
boon. As he left for home, Harrison's superior officer, Brigadier 
General Charles Cruft, bade him a warm farewell. Then the gen- 
eral went to headquarters and wrote the following to the War 

... in parting with Col. Benjamin Harrison, yoth Indiana Vols., it 
affords me pleasure to say that he has served the country, during the 

77 Cleaves, op. cit. f p. 276. 

78 Special Orders No. 16, Department of the Cumberland; copy in Harrison MSS, 
Vol. 6, 1091. 

70 Otto Eisenschiml and Ralph Newman, The American Iliad, p. 655: "Sherman 
presented Savannah to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift and then prepared for 
further exploits. He could either join Grant by water or else march by land through 
the Carolinas. He himself preferred the latter." 


recent short but arduous and brilliant campaign (as commander of 
a Brigade in the Division under my command) most faithfully and 
creditably. He has proven himself on all occasions to be an excellent 
officer. His long and meritorious service entitles him to remembrance 
at the hands of the Government and to speedy promotion. I recom- 
mend that he be made a Brigadier General and guarantee that he 
possesses all the qualities requisite to successful administration of the 
office. I have known Col. Harrison for several years and speak from 
personal knowledge. 80 

so Copy in the Harrison MSS, Vol. 6, No. 1092. 


Brigadier General Harrison 
and Desolated Roads 

HARRISON'S RETURN to Indianapolis immediately after the 
successful Nashville campaign bore a striking resem- 
blance to his homecoming after the fall of Atlanta. Some 
Hoosiers maintained that his courage and skill in handling a bri- 
gade on the Nashville front had assured him of a brigadier's "star," 
whether official Washington chose to recognize it or not. 1 Still 
others listed Benjamin Harrison with Colonel John Coburn as 
Indiana's "most deserving and best colonels." 2 Such sentiments 
of appreciation and praise moved Harrison to dismiss all feelings 
of regret that he had been prevented from joining Sherman and 
his original command at Atlanta. No longer did he consider his 
absence from the Seventieth Indiana, as it marched from Atlanta 
to Savannah, a stroke of misfortune. Although he sorely missed 
his own regiment and his old brigade, whose military fame was 
now assured, Harrison found ample compensation in the warm 
reception he was given in the Indiana capital. He found it stimu- 
lating when a body of his fellow citizens heralded him as "hav- 
ing gone through a harder and not less glorious campaign with 
Thomas" 3 than he would have experienced with Sherman on the 
march to the sea. 

1 George W. Grubbs to Col. Harrison, February 21, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6: 
". . . believing the 'star' won on more fields than one, permit me to congratulate 

2 John Defrees to Harrison, February 18, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6, claims that 
this was the opinion in the U. S. Senate as well as in Indiana. Defrees was Superin- 
tendent of Public Printing in Washington and wrote Harrison that "we have bat- 
tled over your cause and that of John Coburn several times." 

3 George W. Grubbs to Col, Harrison, February 21, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 



While no official action had been taken on the several recom- 
mendations that Harrison be promoted to the rank of brigadier 
general, he himself was not overconcerned, since public opinion 
and influential men were on his side, and the notification of his 
deserved promotion was just a matter of time. As Major Grubbs 
had written, with the South Carolina campaign about to start, 
and with a new opportunity for Harrison to head his old and tried 
brigade once again, "the full honor" could not be far distant. As 
Harrison rode into Indianapolis, he fully realized that Sherman 
was now entering upon the last stage of the great march which 
was to unite the Army of the West with that of the East before 
Richmond. He shared Grant's and Sherman's belief that, if this 
march were successful, the Confederacy was doomed. Sherman 
did not hope or expect to accomplish it without a struggle, and 
Harrison wanted to be there for the first attack. 

Harrison did not delay long at Indianapolis. Anxious to re- 
join his command, yet reluctant to leave his family, he finally 
decided to have Carrie and the two children accompany him as 
far as New York. Aside from the presence of two healthy children, 
this second honeymoon, made at the expense of the Government, 
differed vastly from the one of some twelve years previous. The 
intervening years had seen Ben and Carrie make rapid strides. 
The unknown lawyer of '54 was not only known, but actually 
cheered, as he waved farewell once again to Indianapolis and a 
host of friends. He seemed to sense that his own honor and future 
were secure. 

Before they reached Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where Carrie's 
sister, Elizabeth Lord, and her family awaited their arrival, Ben- 
jamin confided to Carrie that nothing would please him more 
than to march northward from Savannah with the general who 
had taken Atlanta. He had learned that Sherman was to make for 
Hilton Head, a coastal city, really an island, southwest of Charles- 
ton. Harrison was set upon rejoining his command at that point. 4 
Carrie, fearful but understanding, encouraged him. Certainly, 
her hero-husband could join Sherman's army of 60,000 by early 
February. While she scarcely could have envisioned his inarching 
420 miles farther, across swamps, over narrow mud roads and 
through unbroken forests, Carrie was content to feed the fire of 

4 S. M. Bowman and R. B. Irwin, Sherman and His Campaigns: A Military Biog- 
raphy (New York, 1865), p. 335. 


her husband's military ambition. Nor was it hard for her to pic- 
ture her own pride and joy as supporting Grant against Lee in 
Virginia, especially if he were instrumental in cutting off Georgia 
and the Carolinas, the chief sources of Confederate supplies and 
re-enforcements. The reverie ended abruptly at Honesdale. 

During the last week of January, 1865, for the first time since 
mid-July, 1862, Harrison found himself unfit for active service. 
Within a few hours of his arrival, scarlet fever struck the colonel 
and his family. The attack was serious and immediate quarantine 
dispelled all hope of a quick reunion with Sherman. The doctor 
certified that he would be unable to rejoin his command in less 
than thirty days. 5 Harrison's illness was bad, but his disappoint- 
ment was worse. 

Under the excellent care and attention of Mr. and Mrs. Lord's 
family, 6 the Harrisons recuperated more rapidly than the physi- 
cian predicted. After two weeks of confinement, he began to show 
signs that his ordinarily robust constitution was on the mend. 
Perhaps good care and constant medical attention were not solely 
responsible for the swift recovery, for Harrison's will to recover 
was significantly stimulated by his official appointment as briga- 
dier general by brevet. John Defrees helped Harrison more than 
he realized by a timely letter informing the general that his nomi- 
nation had been unanimously confirmed by the Senate, and by a 
consoling postscript: "I have not heard a single word to your 
prejudice, but on the contrary', you stand well." 7 

Fully recovered by the beginning of the last week in February, 
Harrison now found his confinement increasingly irksome. More- 
over, a score of congratulatory messages constantly sharpened his 
desire to ride once more at the head of his brigade. Friends in 
Indianapolis, so wrote his law partner "Pink" Fishback, were 
"much pleased with your deserved promotion, and you have the 
prayers of many that you may be spared to return again to more 

5 Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

6 Harrison mentions this in several later letters to his wife, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6, 
February 25, March i, and March 4, 1865. 

7 John Defrees to Brig. Gen. B. Harrison, February 18, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
6. As founder of the newspaper, the Indianapolis Atlas, Defrees was in complete 
touch with local as well as national affairs. Harrison and other Indiana men used 
him as a contact man with President Lincoln whose nomination he helped to 
achieve at Chicago in 1860. See Kenneth Stampp, Indiana Politics, p. 6. 


peaceful pursuits." 8 Ben's promotion also elicited from John 
Scott Harrison a letter fairly bursting with paternal pride. Yet, 
fatherly prudence dictated a strong admonition: "Be extremely 
careful of yourself and [do] not suffer anxiety to rejoin your 
command." He was further urged to await a full convalescence 
and not to attempt to travel before complete recovery. It was 
typical of his father to add: "you can do your country no good 
laying [sic] in a hospital." 

Despite his father's advice and without his physician's permis- 
sion, Brigadier General Harrison left Honesdale for New York 
early in the last week of February. Greatly fatigued by the long 
train ride to Lackawaxen, Harrison was too proud to admit the 
fact. Rather, his first letter to Carrie and the children quickly 
passed over his own condition and dwelt at length on the kind- 
ness of a conductor who happened to hail from Indianapolis. 10 
Harrison put up at the Merchants Hotel in New York City, re- 
laxing there until orders should be issued from Washington. On 
February 25th the New York Herald bore the glad tidings that 
all officers belonging to Sherman's Army were to report immedi- 
ately at Hilton Head. 

The next morning Harrison sailed from New York on the 
steamer Fulton. On boarding the vessel he was surprised to find 
that army orders put him in command. The trip was uneventful, 
and the ship docked at Hilton Head on March 2, 1865. At this 
important land and naval base, now in Union hands, General 
Harrison had only a two-hour stay before taking passage on a 
small steamer that slowly nosed its way inland up the Broad 
River. The vessel's destination was Camp Sherman, situated near 
Blair's Landing, thirty miles from the coast. Dusk and a thick 
fog compelled the captain to drop anchor in mid-stream, though 
only half of the distance had been navigated. 

Fog still shrouded the steamer the next morning, and, to chase 
away disappointment, the general proposed an oyster fishing ex- 

8 W. P. Fishback to Gen. Benj. Harrison, February 18, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
6. Also Grubbs to Harrison, February 21, 1865, ibid. 

a J. S. Harrison to Benj., February 22, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. Harrison's 
father was quite surprised that his son was a victim of scarlet fever. "I had always 
thought that you had passed through the ordeal of Scarlet Fever and indeed all 
other diseases which are peculiar to infancy and early youth. Jennie and Carter had 
scarlet fever, when about ten or twelve years old, and quite severely too. You must 
have been away from home at the time." 

10 Benj. Harrison to his wife, February 25, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 








Photographer unknown (April 1865) Courtesy Harrison Memorial Home 



pedition. Harrison, who had never seen an oyster bed before, 
wrote to Carrie: 

... we were soon pulling through the fog with the undersigned at the 
helm. We found plenty of oysters and loaded our boats down with 
them. The tide was out and we could reach the beds along the margin 
of the water without dipping for them. I had never seen an oyster 
bed before and they were quite a curiosity to me. The shells grow 
together in great bunches, the larger oysters being inside, and great 
clusters of smaller ones grown fast around them. The shells are very 
sharp; hands and boots suffered a good deal in the expedition. 11 

For Harrison the fun had just begun. With their heavy loot 
slowing them down, the oyster crew made for the steamer. Here 
they procured several empty buckets and "picked out some dozen 
bucketfuls of the best and got the engineer to steam them for us, 
so as to partially cook them and assist in opening the shells." 

I soon got to be expert in opening them and took two or three dozen 
with great relish; which was perhaps not to be wondered at, as we 
had no supper or breakfast. The oysters are not large, but have a very 
good flavor. They are called along the coast Coon oysters from the 
fact that the Coons eat them at night along the shore. Some times the 
oyster catches the Coon, by dosing his shell on his paw, which is per- 
haps a fair retaliatory measure on his part. 12 

Before long, the morning fog had lifted, enabling the small 
steamer to dock at Blair's Landing. Harrison marched his con- 
tingent two miles to Camp Sherman, where General Prince was 
commandant over several thousand men prepared to reinforce 
Sherman. Upon reporting to Prince, Harrison boldly requested 
that he be permitted to join his old command without further 
delay. When Prince replied that he was ignorant of Sherman's 
exact position, Harrison was undaunted. He pleaded for leave to 
make his way alone, if necessary. Prince promptly vetoed this 
plan by explaining that no one was to leave the Blair's Land- 
ing base until the Confederates "now lurking in the woods and 
swamps" 13 could be starved or driven into the open. This attitude 
seemed to Harrison nothing more than overcaution. He cen- 

11 Harrison to his wife, March 4, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 


13 Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: The Fighting Prophet, p. 499. 


sured his senior officer for what he termed a lack of interest. 14 
Prince had his way, and Harrison was kept at Camp Sherman. 
In a couple of days he found himself in command of all arriving 
contingents, doing the same routine training job that he had done 
at Chattanooga the month before the Nashville campaign. If any- 
thing, his set-up at Blair's Landing was worse than that at Chat- 
tanooga. It was not so much the character of the troops as the 
location of the camp. As far as he could see, South Carolina was 
an endless succession of swamps and salt marshes. Moreover, the 
mosquitoes were so bad and sharp-biting gnats so numerous that, 
at the end of two weeks, he could truly write "I fit and blid for 
my country every day." 15 

Problems other than climate and terrain pressed Harrison. A 
number of "bounty jumpers/' having obtained their loot, at- 
tempted to desert, but hemmed in, as they were, by swamps and 
rivers, it was almost impossible for them to get away. One night, 
eight of them deserted and made a raft on which to cross the 
river. Only four could ride the raft and the other four sent their 
clothes over on it and attempted to swim. One was drowned in 
crossing and the nearly naked three waded back to camp through 
swamps. One had only a shirt and another an overcoat. The cul- 
prits were brought to General Harrison for judgment. He seized 
this opportunity to warn his command against further attempts 
at desertion, and his solution, as he revealed it to Carrie, was 
quite simple: "I paraded them under guard before their com- 
mand just as they were for two hours to show their comrades 
what desertion came to." 16 

Three days became three weeks, and still no news from Sher- 
man. The camp near Blair's Landing increased in numbers daily. 
By the middle of March more than 5,000 well-drilled reinforce- 
ments anxiously awaited the signal to break camp and, further 
inland, 3,000 additional troops were ready to move with them. 
Battalion drill and dress parade were dull routine for veterans 
of Atlanta and Nashville. As the days dragged on, Sherman's fail- 

14 Harrison to his wife, March 4, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6: "Gen. Prince was 
assigned to General Sherman after the army readied Savannah and has no com- 
mand with the moving column, and I don't think he feels the same interest in get- 
ting there as some of us do." 

is Harrison to his wife, March 17, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 


ure to communicate with either Prince or Harrison irked the 

The chief source of Harrison's melancholy was the dearth of 
letters from home. Carrie was still the faithful correspondent, 
but the news and sentiment contained in her roving letters never 
reached Blair's Landing; they were held at the soth Army Corps 
Headquarters some 200 miles away. Toward the end of March, 
Carrie learned his plight: 

If I were receiving letters from you by every steamer, the labor 
would be much more easy and pleasant As it is, my life is one of un- 
varying monotony, and the companions by whom I am surrounded 
are strangers to you, and their doings and sayings of no interest to 
you. With you it is not so; the friends who surround you and make 
part of your daily life are my children or my very dear friends, and 
everything that concerns these is of interest to me. Your daily domes- 
tic life I feel to be a part of my life, and I love to know every little 
event of it to feed my love of home upon, and direct my imagination 
when I go in fancy to my absent home. My life here is an indolent 
one, offering very little scope for ambition or eneigy. The office busi- 
ness is very light, and my out-of-door duties consist of an occasional 
visit to my picket line and the camp. 17 

Much as Harrison yearned for Carrie, the children and his In- 
dianapolis friends, he feared, so he admitted, "to anticipate the 
joy of returning home to remain, or 'for good* as the children 
say, lest some casualty of disease or battle" should shatter "these 
fond anticipations/' 18 Despite every indication to the contrary, 
this period of enforced confinement and inactivity was, in reality, 
a blessing in disguise. Granted that Harrison was sad, despondent 
and deeply introspective, this was a mental climate which he 
needed in order to mature and plot his future course. Not even 
the brigadier general's commission could shake his determina- 
tion to retire "at the expiration of my present term I am grow- 
ing older and perhaps injuring my constitution more than I am 
now aware of, while I am not growing wiser in anything likely to 
be of use to me in future life." 19 

Yet, he was on the threshold of change, and the change was 

17 Harrison to his wife, March 28, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

18 Harrison to his wife, March 17, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 
i* Ibid. 


one Carrie had yearned to see. The years 1857-61 had been finan- 
cially bearable, but no wife enjoys seeing her husband an utter 
slave to his work. There was silent suffering and resignation on 
Carrie's part. Her husband would not always be forced to devote 
two-thirds of his day to actual practice, office routine, and home 
study. When the change would come she did not know. The 
letter from South Carolina, however, fanned the flame of hope. 
Harrison himself wrote of a strong resolution to amend his ways 
in the postwar world: 

Sometimes I fear that I might find the monotonous and the plod- 
ding life of a lawyer too much lacking in excitement to satisfy me 
after three years in the army, as many before me have done, but I 
mean to be a more domestic and sociable man than I have ever been 
before, and I am sure that I shall find in the delights of home and 
family all that my heart longs for. On one point my mind is fully 
made up, and that is that I will never again make myself a slave to 
my business as I did for several years before going into the army. I 
am sure we shall be a happier family with a smaller income and more 
time spent in domestic and social intercourse. 20 

He had calculated that the publishing of the Supreme Court 
Reports would be full employment; consequently, he determined 
not to engage in an active law practice immediately upon his re- 
turn. If he found it better to do so after a while, he promised to 
"limit my practice so as not to be overburdened." Harrison did 
not dwell too long on a future whose character was still uncertain. 
He advised Carrie that "there are yet dark battle scenes between 
me and the fruition of these hopes which I so much cherish. We 
will trust God and do our present duty," 

While Harrison was drilling reinforcements at Blair's Land- 
ing, Sherman was on the march from Columbia to Fayetteville, 
then east, away from Raleigh, toward Goldsboro, North Caro- 
lina. Near this city, on March 19, the hero of Atlanta fought a 
sharp engagement with Johnston in the vicinity of Bentonville, 
driving the enemy back and taking the railroad connecting Wil- 
mington and Beaufort. Sherman's famous march was ended. His 
courageous army was strategically placed and heavy reinforce- 

20 ibid. 


ments were near at hand. Further action, however, waited on an 
important conference with Grant and developments in the stra- 
tegic Petersburg-Richmond sector. 21 

Under the circumstances Harrison was compelled to abandon 
his oft-repeated dream of marching to Sherman in the latter's 
hour of need. Sherman had no need. His army was well and still 
could march, even if great swaths had not been cut in the Caro- 
linas. Harrison had all but given up hope, when a steamer put 
in at Hilton Head with orders to transport all available troops 
to join Sherman in North Carolina. 

Highly elated, he confided to General Prince that he did not 
remember witnessing the dawn of a happier day. The Old West 
Pointer eyed the young general, and remarked that their present 
camp was a perfect paradise compared with any place on the coast 
of North Carolina. Concerning North Carolina Harrison had 
no information, but even the intimation that South Carolina was 
in any sense a paradise greatly disturbed him. Carrie shared her 
husband's indignation when he wrote that if this is Prince's idea 
"of paradise, the generally received idea of it ought to be cor- 
rected, and should no longer stand for a synonym of either 
beauty, innocence, or happiness, unless they are found in swamps, 
miasma, the company and control of bad men, laziness and a 
bilious habit." 22 

Harrison's eager departure was delayed only by his obligation 
to remain until the last transport was despatched. The time, how- 
ever, was filled up with comment on the significance of peace 
negotiations already sanctioned by President Lincoln. 28 He put 
little trust in the rumors. Even when the New York Tribune 
urged Lincoln to offer peace terms again and again until they 
should be accepted, Harrison was convinced that the presidential 
efforts would ultimately fail. He had his own solution. "Let Sher- 

21 John G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 676. Wilmington had 
been evacuated on February 22 and Fort Fisher had already been reduced. At this 
time Grant was threatening Lee at Petersburg. 

22 Harrison to his wife, March 28, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. The "bad men" 
reference was to the activities of the sutler whom General Prince had employed, 
and to whom he had given the monopoly of selling to 7,000 troops. This purveyor 
charged exorbitant prices which Harrison had in vain attempted to have regulated 
by a Counsel of Administration. The outrageous swindling continued, and Harri- 
son let it be known in camp that he had no control over the matter. 

28 See Randall, op. cit., pp. 676-78. 


man, Grant and Sheridan," he wrote, "push on their conquering 
columns and peace will come spontaneously. . . . My belief is 
that the war will never be ended by negotiation with the rebel 
leaders." 24 

Underlying Harrison's opposition to formal peace negotiations 
at this time was a deep fear that such proceedings would precipi- 
tate a complicated and belligerent fight over the fundamental 
question of reconstruction policies. Better, he thought, that the 
fear of the Lord should compel total surrender by Southern 

When their "fear cometh," and they flee, leaving the people and 
the army to their own guidance, they will lay down their arms and 
seek their homes, if permitted, and we shall have a peace more perma- 
nent, that it has not been bought by concessions which may hamper 
the future management of the difficult question that will come before 
Congress. 25 

Before the last troop transport sailed from Hilton Head, Har- 
rison mounted his charger for a farewell canter through the coun- 
tryside. He had a favorite rendezvous a large and once beautiful 
plantation about three miles from Blair's Landing. Dismounting, 
he sauntered leisurely through the "desolate ruins of a once 
splendid mansion." Flowers of all variety were in bloom, but 
"some splendid avenues of oaks" were the "sole remaining tokens 
of the rich and haughty slave holder's once courtly house and 
grounds." The weed-choked garden, however, yielded Harrison 
a parting souvenir. He plucked two rosebuds. That same evening 
he sent them to Carrie, charging her "to retain one of the buds 
yourself and imagine my whispering in your ear with the simple 
gift all that could be delicate and affectionate in a lover, in his 
first declarations." 26 

On April 5 the last group of regulars had set sail for Wilming- 
ton. While Harrison was packing his few belongings, the steamer 
Champion put in. The one letter out of its mail addressed to 
him was a rare treat on two scores: it was from Indianapolis, 
which, as far as Harrison had been concerned, had been wrapped 
in silence for over three months; and its author was Irwin Har- 

24 Harrison to his wife, March *8, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

26 Ibid. 


rison, the retired soldier in the family. The general's brother 
wrote that all was well on the domestic front: 

The little world in and around Indianapolis wags on the same old 
way, and I see your old profession brotherhood passing to and from 
their homes. I often look for you, and then remember and see you 
in your soldier's cloth, doing and daring to do, for your country's 
honor. 27 

With Irwin's letter in his pocket and nursing the phantasm of 
Indianapolis, Harrison boarded the Champion at Hilton Head. 
On the loth they set sail, and after a pleasant two-day run, the 
steamer docked at Wilmington. 

There, pandemonium had broken loose. Not merely had the 
news of Richmond's fall been confirmed, but the report of Lee's 
surrender to Grant at Appomattox as well. Wilmington was late 
in receiving the tidings, but her celebration was equal to that of 
any city sheltering Northern sympathizers. 28 General Joseph R. 
Hawley, commander of the Wilmington district, was on hand to 
greet the new arrivals. The ship's landing was an excuse for an- 
other wild celebration. Harrison and his staff were guests "and 
rode in grand style about the city." The parade lasted several 
hours, and the private celebrations somewhat longer. Officers 
vied with their men in expressions of jubilation. Throughout 
the night the atmosphere remained charged with victory, and 
even Carrie must have raised an eyebrow when her usually so- 
ber-minded and conservative husband described his part in the 
mounted and foot races of the officers. The finish line, Harrison 
was quick to point out, was General Hawley's house "where we 
went in to enjoy a collation." Carrie was also informed: 

There was plenty of wine and so forth and we soon had a merry 
party. I was called out to respond to a toast to Sherman's army and 
after a short speech toasted the Ladies, two of whom, Mrs. General 
Hawley and Abbott were present. Before the party broke up I had 
to make another speech. 29 

Evidently, Harrison won the esteem of his fellow officers in 
Wilmington. General Dodge, whose famous career as a great rail- 

27Irwin Harrison to Benjamin Harrison, March 30, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

28 Harrison to his wife, April 15, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

29 Ibid. 


road builder and financier still lay in the future, was happy to 
number the Hoosier among his friends. So was General Hawley, 
destined to be Harrison's colleague in the United States Senate. 80 

As much as Harrison liked Wilmington and his genial com- 
panions, he begged and obtained special orders on April 14 which 
gave him permission to "go to Goldsboro, N. C., and if oppor- 
tunity offers, there to join his command with General Sherman's 
army." 81 

Finally, on April 19, after six months of vain effort, he reached 
the command he had left at the end of the Atlanta campaign. As 
he strode towards brigade headquarters, he was preoccupied with 
thoughts of the warm homecoming that his own old command 
would give him. He scarcely noticed that the Raleigh streets 
were singularly clear of civilian and soldier alike. Uneasy over 
this strange quiet, he sought the reason. He was stunned when 
he discovered it. General Sherman had just issued a purposely 
delayed bulletin: President Abraham Lincoln had been assassi- 
nated. 82 

Slowly, he entered his own headquarters. No one seemed to 
take any notice of his arrival. Harrison saw what Sherman and 
every other officer witnessed. "For hours . . . men wept, or were 
stunned, or stood gritting their teeth and demanding that the 
armistice be ended so there might be one last savage battle." 83 
Sherman's bulletin, however, exonerated the Confederate army 
from complicity in the assassination plot, and the first impact 
of the shocking news gradually lost its force. Dismay yielded to 
sympathy and curses became prayers. Memorial services for the 
President were conducted at headquarters. It was at the camp of 

so Hawley represented Connecticut in the United States Senate from 1881 to 
1905, entering that body with Benjamin Harrison, serving through the latter's ad- 
ministration as President, and then serving thirteen more years in the Senate after 
Harrison left Washington. Hawley was able but inconspicuous, served his country 
well as a consistent protectionist and advocate of sound money. In 1892, Hawley 
telegraphed the Minneapolis Convention that renominated Harrison: "Personally 
I was and am for Harrison first and last." J. R. Hawley to S. Fessenden, June 8, 
1892. J. R. Hawley MSS, Vol. 21, No. 4962, Library of Congress. 

81 Special Orders Number 63, dated Headquarters, Wilmington, N. C., April 14, 
1865; copy in Harrison MSS, Vol. 6, No. 1122. 

32 William Sherman, Memoirs, H, 350-51. 

33 Lewis, op. tit., p. 537. Sherman who watched the effect closely, and wrote that 
he "was gratified that there was no single act of retaliation; though I saw and felt 
that one single word by me would have laid the city in ashes and turned its whole 
population houseless upon the country, if not worse.* 1 


the ist Brigade that Harrison delivered a eulogy on Lincoln. 84 
Summoned by the members of the Seventieth Indiana, he made 
a very brief speech. Unfortunately, not a single word has been 
preserved, and eye-witnesses relate only that it was "brief, . . 
remarkably well put, and often to the point of eloquence/' 35 Al- 
most forty years later, after his own presidential term, Harrison 
delivered a similar address in a Chicago banquet hall. 36 Eulogiz- 
ing the deeds of the martyred chief executive, Harrison knew no 

The Civil War called for a president who had faith in time, for 
his country as well as for himself; who could endure the impatience 
of others and bide his time. A man who could by strong but restrained 
diplomatic correspondence hold foreign intermeddlers and at the 
same time lay the sure basis for the Geneva award, a man who could 
in all his public utterances, while maintaining the authority of the 
law and the just rights of national government, breathe an undertone 
of yearning for the misguided and the rebellious; a man who could 
hold the war and the policy of the government to its original pur- 
posethe restoration of the states without the destruction of slavery 
until public sentiment was ready to support a proclamation of eman- 
cipation; a man who could win and hold the love of the soldier and 
the masses of the people; a man who could be just without pleasure 
in the severities of justice, who loved to forgive and pardon. . . . 

Qualities of heart and mind combined to make him a man who has 
won the love of mankind. He is beloved. He stands like a great light- 
house to show the way of duty to all his countrymen and to send afar 
a beam of courage to those who beat against the winds. We do him 
reverence. We bless tonight the memory of Lincoln. 87 

34 No copy of this address can be found. Contemporaries remembered it and al- 
luded to it frequently, and Harrison himself only narrates the circumstances under 
which he was called to make the address in a letter to his wife, April 20, 1865, Har- 
rison MSS, Vol. 6. 

35 The testimony of Captain H. A. Ford, which appeared in the Indianapolis 
Journal, June 29, 1888, a reprint from the Detroit Tribune. The clipping is in the 
B. Harrison Scrapbook Series, Vol. 6, Harrison MSS. 

36 Lincoln Day Banquet of the Marquette Club, Chicago, February 12, 1898. 

37 Benjamin Harrison, Views of An Ex-President, pp. 472-78. 


The Grand Review 

-i^ -yTEXT TO THE love f east Harrison had with the stack of Car- 
I^W] rie's letters waiting for him at headquarters, the event 
JL il that pleased him most was the cordial reception given 
him by General Ward. "I find he has been a very true friend to 
me in my absence. I shall never permit myself to say a word 
against him again." 1 Quite a courageous resolution this when 
one recalls Harrison's bitter complaints of '63 and '64. 

In excellent health and boasting his heaviest army weight, 145 
pounds, Harrison did not retire without first acquainting Car- 
rie with the details of his army homecoming: 

... I found a most cordial welcome here both from my superiors and 
inferiors and was compelled to make them a little speech last night. 
They all expressed the most cordial feeling and the most enthusiastic 
gladness at my return. It was very gratifying to know that they missed 
me, and also to be assured that they all gave me credit for a desire to 
get back. Sherman has completed the terms with Johnston which, if 
ratified at Washington, will, he says, bring peace from the Potomac 
to the Rio Grande. And in the meantime we have a suspension of 
hostilities. We are fixing upon a camp for a stay of ten days or two 
weeks, and then we expect to march toward home. Yes!, thank God, 
towards home, our work done, our country saved. There is some talk 
that a portion of the army will march to the Potomac . . . and part 
back through Georgia. Which way we may go I cannot tell, but I 
hope towards the East, as I have no fancy for a Georgia trip. My im- 
pression is that the Regiments that came out when we did, will be 
mustered out by the first of June, and that the Colored Troops, the 
Regulars and the Veterans will be kept as Garrisons for such places 
as they may think necessary to garrison. It is a most joyous anticipa- 
tion and I pray nothing may happen to dash our cup of joy. 2 

For a week after he had resumed command, Harrison's brigade 
remained in camp at Raleigh. On April 25, when peace negotia- 

1 Harrison to his wife, April 20, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

2 Ibid. 


tions fell through, Sherman's army was set in motion again, 3 since 
caution dictated the speedy erection of roadblocks at strategic 
points in the vicinity of Raleigh. Consequently, Harrison's bri- 
gade was ordered to Jones' Cross Roads, fifteen miles southwest 
of the city, to guard against a Southern withdrawal in the event 
that new negotiations should also fail. This movement, however, 
was wasted energy. Johnston and Sherman, on the 26th, agreed 
to a set of terms "as generous, simple, and almost as brief as those 
Grant had given Lee." 4 Grant quickly acquiesced in the agree- 
ment, and Sherman, intending to treat the South with increasing 
liberality, wrote to Johnston: 

Now that the war is over, I am as willing to risk my person and 
reputation as heretofore to heal the wounds made by the past war, 
and I think my feeling is shared by the whole army. 5 

Johnston accepted what he termed an "enlightened and humane 

Two days later, April 30, the Union army in and near Raleigh 
began the march to Richmond and Washington. Orders were is- 
sued that the march was to be "conducted with a view to the 
comfort of the troops and suggested fifteen miles per day as the 
limit, unless circumstances should require a longer march." 6 
Upon starting out, Harrison had written Carrie not to expect 
any letters "from me again before we reach Richmond which we 
expect to make in two weeks." 7 Nine days later, and five days 
ahead of schedule, Harrison was writing from Richmond that 
"the march was not made as easy or as comfortable to the troops 
as the orders suggested." 8 

In his official report Harrison registered only a mild complaint 
against the needlessly long marches, noting merely that "the 
troops were very much wearied and exhausted." 9 Carrie, how- 

3 Samuel Merrill, The Seventieth Indiana, pp. 278-81. 

4 Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: The Fighting Prophet, p. 556. Northern terms gave ten 
days' rations to all surrendered soldiers and loaned them enough farm animals to 
insure a crop. Sherman issued special field orders to "encourage the inhabitants to 
renew their peaceful pursuits and to restore the relations of friendship among our 
fellow-citizens and countrymen." 


Harrison's official report, Merrill, op. cit. f p. 278. 

7 Harrison to his wife, April 28, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

8 Merrill, oto. cit., o. 278. 


ever, bore the burden of her husband's real complaint. He had 
written from Clover Hill, Virginia, twenty-two miles south of 

One week ago today we left Raleigh and have ever since been 
"marching on" towards Richmond. . . . We have been making long 
marches, though the march was ordered to be made with deference 
to the comfort of the troops. Our average distance per day has been 
about 20 miles. Reveille at a# A.M., and on the road at 4J4. 1 don't 
like such early rising, and see no necessity for such hard marching. 
The i4th Corps has been trying to get up a race, and I suppose our 
Corps Commander has urged us forward to keep up with them. 10 

Despite his understandable growling, Harrison found the 
march on the whole "very pleasant . . . road good and the 
weather fine and cool save one day." Moreover, he had high praise 
for the discipline of his troops. At Raleigh, orders had been issued 
against all foraging from the country and no soldier was to enter 
private houses on any pretext. Reporting upon his own brigade, 
Harrison testified that "the orders were faithfully observed." 
While one or two cases of thieving came to his knowledge, he 
could honestly say that "it was really surprising to see an army 
so long accustomed to living off the country and to irregularities 
necessarily resulting, at once resume their habits of order and 
good discipline, and it is highly creditable to the Army." 11 

One of the unforgettable scenes of the rapid rush toward Rich- 
mond was the meeting and commingling of Southern and North- 
ern troops. As a member of Harrison's regiment described it: 

The men from General Lee's army, whom we met in large numbers, 
were ragged and had nothing to eat and no blankets, but the weather 
was warm, and little bedding was needed by old soldiers. When we 
met them, as we were going into camp, we invited them to sleep with 
us, and at such times talked over the events of war till far into the 
night We always found these ex-rebels friendly and glad that the war 
was over, and the parting in the morning would be like leave-taking 
of old friends. 12 

10 Harrison to his wife, May 7, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

11 Merrill, op. cit., p. 379. 

12 U. H. Farr's diary, quoted by Merrill, op. cit., p. 271. 


Once the swift-moving corps had crossed the Roanoke River, 
only sixty miles separated them from Richmond. On May 8, 
Ward's division went into camp just eight miles south of the 
conquered capital. That evening the weary troops received word 
that General Halleck would review all the Washington-bound 
troops. No complaint was voiced more pointedly than Harrison's 
indignant protest: 

We have had no chance to re-fit our men and shall make a rather 
shabby appearance when compared to the spruce soldiers of the Poto- 
mac Army who are to be turned out to receive us. However, our 
shabbiness will be respectable, when the origin of it is known to be 
our wonderful marches and bold departures from our base. 18 

This prediction was completely verified, and after the Rich- 
mond review no one dared any longer to look upon Sherman's 
army as "a rough rabble of disorganized cut-throats." 14 Rather, 
the opposite opinion prevailed and a dignified reception was 
given die army whose tightly knit columns moved with perfect 
order through the city streets. Richmond never forgot Sherman's 
troops and Harrison never forgot Richmond. Here he officially 
received his commission as Brevet Brigadier General. 15 

Pushing ahead from Richmond was a trying ordeal. The bat- 
tle-scarred route to Washington served only to revive the hor- 
rible memories of slaughter and carnage now stored in the minds 
of men who had once fought under McDowell, McClellan and 
Grant against Lee's command. Especially revolting were the 
skeleton-strewn battlefields around Spotsylvania and Chancel- 
lorsville. Splintered trees and riddled stumps could not hide 
from Harrison and his brigade several patches of ground "thickly 
strewn with dead Union soldiers." 16 Deeply shocked by these 
"horrible sights," Harrison refused to describe them in detail. 

13 Harrison to his wife, May 9, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

14 Merrill, op. cit., p. 272. 

ifi '1 received my commission as Bvt. Brig. Genl. at Richmond and was greatly 
relieved to have it at hand." Harrison to his wife. May 20, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 
6. The delay was caused by Lincoln's assassination. On April 29, 1865, John Defrees 
had written to Harrison: "I called at the War Dept. today to see about your com- 
mission. It had not been returned to the War Dept from the Executive Mansion 
until a few days ago. A great many comm. were on Mr. Lincoln's table unsigned at 
the tune of his death." Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

16 Merrill, op. cit., p. 273. 


It is to Sherman's credit that his army gave these honored dead 
a belated but decent burial. 

Through the Wilderness, across the Rappahannock, and north- 
ward into Alexandria, marched Sherman's stalwarts, begrimed 
and thirsty. Harrison wrote: "We were all so much fatigued and 
worn out that we had not fixed up any desks or tables and I can 
only write you a brief pencil note on my knee. The last three days 
of our march were very exhausting owing to intense heat and 
scarcity of water." 17 No sooner had camps begun to mushroom 
along the Virginia side of the Potomac than a three-day down- 
pour drenched the squalid, sweaty corps. After the storms, the 
ordinary Washington weather prevailed. Yet, even the hot, sultry 
days that exasperated the natives failed to dampen the enthusi- 
asm in camp. One topic alone was discussedthe Grand Review 
of Sherman's army scheduled for Wednesday, May 24. 

Even General Harrison, who did not hide his distaste "for such 
crowds and parades," predicted that the Grand Review "will 
probably be the grandest military parade this country will ever 
see." Personally, he wrote Carrie, "I would not prolong my sepa- 
ration from you and the children one hour to see it." For the men 
who had fought and won the war, "all these shows and red-tape 
delays in getting us home," were not pleasing. 18 

No forecast of the grandeur of the review even approached the 
actual brilliance of the military spectacle that thrilled the na- 
tion's capital for two days. On Tuesday the sgrd, the East had 
its day, as the Army of the Potomac marched by the immense 
throngs on Pennsylvania Avenue. President Johnson and his 
cabinet occupied the center of the wooden stands before the 
White House. Close by were governors, senators, and celebrities 
from every part of the Union. Blaring bands heralded the ap- 
pearance of General Meade, the hero of Gettysburg. Then came 
General George Custer at the head of his honored brigade of 
regular cavalry. The crowds cheered wildly as each unit of East- 
ern troops hove in sight. In the wooden stands sat General Sher- 
man, carefully planning for the morrow. That would be his day 
and the day of the West, 

17 Harrison to his wife, May 20, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 
is Harrison to his wife, May si, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 


Before more than one half of the Army of the Potomac had 
passed, Sherman made one important mental note. Too many of 
the Eastern troops turned their "eyes around like country gawks 
to look at the big people of the stand." They did not march well, 
because of the faulty music from two civilian orchestras "pam- 
pered and well-fed bands that are taught to play the very latest 
operas." Come what might, his army must outmarch the East- 
erners. Tomorrow, "his officers and men would keep eyes fifteen 
feet to the front and march by in the old customary way." At 
this moment, General Meade came to the reviewing stand, and 
Sherman humbly remarked: "I'm afraid my poor tatterdemalion 
corps will make a poor appearance tomorrow when contrasted 
with yours." Meade agreed that this might be the case, but he 
sought to ease Sherman's sorrow by assuring him that the people 
would make allowances. 19 

Indeed, the people were prepared to go far beyond Meade. 
Wednesday May 24th was bright and mild, and the capital was still 
bedecked with flags. Larger and more interested crowds waited 
impatiently for the review of Sherman's army. For many of the 
spectators both Sherman and his army were enshrouded in mys- 
tery. Thousands had been intrigued by the exploits attributed to 
the Army of the Tennessee, now for the first time setting foot in 
Washington. The reporter for the Washington Chronicle ex- 
plained the mystery and the interest that gripped the crowd when 
the Army of the Tennessee was mentioned. For months they had 
heard about this valiant host, 

down amid the miasmatic marshes of the Mississippi; in the slime of 
the Yazoo and the Tennessee; fighting battles above rolling clouds; 
disappearing beyond the ken of the telegraph; now supposed to be 
victorious, and again a cause of apprehension and doubt; marching 
unrecorded hundreds and hundreds of miles ... so that the distance 
lends enchantment to the view . . . seldom authentically heard from 
save in connection with the news that some rebel stronghold had sur- 
rendered to its General's strategy and to its own indomitable energy. 
. . . The marches it has made; the victories it has won, the difficulties 
it has surmounted, have perhaps never been equalled by any army 
since the days of Xenophon's Anabasis. 20 

10 These details are from Lewis, op. cit. f pp. 573-73. 

20 As reprinted in the Indianapolis Daily Journal, May 39, 1865. 


People wanted to see this section of Sherman's army in the 
flesh, and General Harrison told his command the reason: "The 
highest honors are due to the men who bore the cartridge and 
the gun. What were your officers without you? Much pride as 
we may take in Sherman, it was Sherman's Army, and not Sher- 
man, that accomplished the great work." 21 Fired to enthusiasm, 
Harrison's brigade broke camp early on the 24th. 

At exactly 9:00 A.M. a cannon boomed. "Sherman shook a spur; 
his horse stepped forward, drumsticks made the air flutter like 
flying canister or wild-geese wings. Bands blared into 'The Star- 
Spangled Banner/ Around the corner of the Capitol the West- 
erners came." 22 Deafening cheers met each succeeding wave of 
marchers. It was a day for heroes. Proud Sherman admitted that 
the show his army staged thrilled him to his fingertips. Even he 
had at last disobeyed his own orders by stealing a backward glance 
at his own troops to see those "legions coming in line, every man 
locked in steady formation formal for perhaps the first and last 
time in their lives." 28 If he boasted that this was the happiest and 
most satisfactory moment in his life, then he mirrored perfectly 
Harrison's thoughts: "We took the shine off the Army of the Poto- 
mac and in marching altogether excelled them ... the Review 
was a grand thing for Sherman's Army." 24 

From the conclusion of the review until the end of his life, 
thirty-six years later, General Harrison never once tired of telling 
of the glories of Sherman's army and of the joys of May 24, 1 865. 
With his own courageous Seventieth Indiana Regiment in mind, 
Harrison would discourse for hours on the achievements of the 
army under Sherman. They were rooted, he maintained, in that 
undeniable versatility of Yankee character which adapts itself to 
the circumstances in which it finds itself: the tremendous marches 
and protracted fighting of the Georgia Campaign, or, as he saw 
on May 24, the transition from relaxed discipline and "bum- 
ming" to order and discipline. 25 Even Harrison's final brigade 
report breathed an undeniable pride: 

21 Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 17, 1865. 

22 Lewis, op. cit., p. 573. 
28 Ibid., pp. 574-75. 

2* Harrison to his wife, May 25, 186,,, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 
25 Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 17, 1865. A reporter took down a portion of 
Harrison's impromptu homecoming address. 


The review was creditable to the troops and gave to those who had 
never seen Sherman's army a new and unexpected view. They had 
looked for an army of "Bummers/* wild, undisciplined and unskilled 
in the precision of military movements. They saw, instead, an army 
that could be "Bummers" par excellence when necessity required, 
and when that necessity was removed, could at once exhibit a sub- 
ordination and precision in drill and movement excelled by no other 
army. 26 

Many things in the military array excited the crowd's warm 
admiration. One newspaperman wrote: 

All were delighted, all were pleased at the spectacle which this army 
afforded. We all knew it to be warlike, but all were surprised to find 
it so military . . . ocular proof that armies of men, warlike in spirit, 
may be taken from the plow and the desk to the march and the field 
of battle, and be returned to their country perfect soldiers, even in 
the military details of a soldier's duty. Sherman may say of his army 
what, in 1815, Wellington said of his: "With that army I could go 
anywhere and do anything." 27 

The very way in which Sherman managed his dark bay mount 
with his left hand, while waving appreciatively with his right, set 
the tone. Behind Sherman's staff and escort rode General Logan, 
Commander of the Army of the Tennessee, whose celebrated 
i5th and i7th Corps drew the most sustained applause. Next 
came the Army of Georgia, headed by General Slocum. Hooker's 
old 20th Army Corps, now led by General Mower, and General 
Jeff Davis' i4th Corps brought up the rear. 

Perhaps the greatest interest, however, was manifested in the 
so-called "Bummer Brigade," foragers actual "bummers" an 
essential part of the 2Oth Corps during the Georgia and Carolina 
campaigns. It marched slowly behind General Geary's infantry, 
led "by a sable warrior on a diminutive donkey." In their ranks 
were mules on whose backs were perched goats, occasional roost- 
ers, and even a poodle. One observer reported "this brigade ob- 
served no military rules as we perceived, but it kept a wonderfully 
sharp lookout. In culinary matters it seemed supreme. Pots, pans, 
kettles, saucepans, spoons in abundance." 28 

26 Merrill, op. cit., pp. 279-80. 

27 Indianapolis Daily Journal, May stg, 1865. 


General Harrison, who rode directly behind General Ward 
and his staff, and kept one eye on the "Bummers" and the other 
on the crowd, later remarked: 

The Eastern people who assembled at Washington to witness the 
review of Sherman's Army, expected to see a disorganized rabble 
marching through the streets, without being able to distinguish one 
company from another. . . . But they beheld a vast column marching 
along with a precision step and uniform soldierly bearing of which 
the Army of the Potomac could never boast. 29 

The note of personal triumph and satisfaction was not missing 
in Harrison's letters home. He wrote to Carrie: 

There were a great many western people in Washington, and they 
cheered the Western army most enthusiastically. I was called by name 
and church about twenty times on the march by friends of whom I 
could only recognize a few. Some young officer, whom I did not know, 
ran out to speak to me and said he had seen my family only a few 
days ago. Who was it? It was a grand review, but I am glad that it is 
over and that we can now give our attention to the work of mustering 
out. 80 

The most trying period in Harrison's army career occurred 
during the last week of May and the first two weeks of June, 1 865. 
The thrill and satisfaction of the Grand Review quickly wore 
off, and within four days Carrie knew she had reasons for anxiety. 
He wrote: "I feel so nervous and expectant when I have a pros- 
pect of getting home after a long absence, that I cannot sit down 
to any ordinary work of routine with patience or interest. There 
is only one thing that interests me now, and that is the progress 
being made in our muster out papers." 81 Try as he might, Harri- 
son was unable to hasten the process. Captains and clerks worked 
day and night to finish their rolls, but the form and routine 
seemed endless. The red tape distressed Harrison and left him 
in ill humor. His real difficulty stemmed from a fundamental lack 
of adaptability to any set of circumstances that spelled inactivity. 
Carrie had no difficulty in imagining her husband's restlessness: 

29 Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 17, 1865, a section from the first speech Gen- 
eral Harrison delivered before his neighbors and friends in Indianapolis, 
so Harrison to his wife, May 85, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6, 
81 Harrison to his wife, May 29, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 


I have been reading a little by snatches, and becoming discontented 
with that method of keeping down my consciousness of discomfort 
and heat, have taken to pencil and paper under the shade of our 
withered arbor in the hope that a little conversation with you and 
indulgence in home thoughts, may put me in a pleasanter humor with 
myself and my surroundings. 32 

His quiet sense of humor, however, did not entirely abandon 
him. With Presbyterian insight he managed to quip that "though 
the 'neither hot nor cold' state may not be commendable in mat- 
ters of faith, yet in the natural world it seems to be highly desir- 

Many of Harrison's fellow officers found abundant diversion 
in the social life at Washington City, but not the general. Enough 
dinner invitations came his way, but with the exception of two 
evenings with his old friend, John Defrees, Harrison declined 
all the others. "Washington," he confided to Carrie, who knew 
the tune by heart, "is like every other city I have ever visited, a 
very dull and uninteresting place to me, except so long as I have 
business to engage my time. You know I am a very poor pleasure 
and curiosity seeker. I was near Charleston for a month, and 
though I could have gone any day, I never visited it." Mrs. Har- 
rison was not surprised, for she alone could understand how her 
husband, with plenty of time on his hands, could "ride past the 
Capitol a dozen times" and never enter the structure. Also she 
probably excused him when he added: "I shall probably go home 
without seeing more than its exterior." 38 

While Harrison was camped outside of Washington, the trial 
of the Lincoln conspirators was being held within the city. Even 
this event, with all its legal and patriotic implications, could not 
shake the general from his lack of interest in all things that did 
not directly bear upon his speedy return to Indianapolis. General 
Lew Wallace actually extended him a special invitation to attend 
the trial, but to no avail. Concerning his unsociability, Harrison 
made only one observation to Carrie: 

If you were here I should try to overcome this habit, as I feel I have 
not been generous to you in allowing my selfish habits to keep you so 
much away from places of amusement and curiosity, but as I am 

32 Harrison to his wife, June 4, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol, 6. 


alone I may allow my habits sway for a little time, before I begin 
the great reform which I am to inaugurate when I get home. You 
will see by my frequent allusions to this matter that I have been giv- 
ing a good deal of thought to the construction of a spiritual model 
of a proper husband and family man. 84 

Not too consistently, however, Harrison yielded to the pres- 
sure of social amenities on three occasions. Of the two dinner 
parties held by John Defrees in his honor, one was a quasi-state 
dinner, to which all Indiana men in Washington were invited. 
Only the circumstance that he was the honored guest rendered 
Harrison's presence a certainty, and even then he did not "much 
fancy" the idea. Defrees learned his lesson, and the second time 
he succeeded in wooing the general from camp, he restricted the 
dinner to the family circle. Harrison's laconic remark to Carrie 
was, "a very pleasant dinner, but not particularly noticeable." 85 

Chaplain Allen of the Seventieth Indiana was only moderately 
successful in his efforts with Brigadier General Harrison. He 
failed to prevail upon the general to address a memorial meeting 
of chaplains. Even the thought of speaking on the same platform 
with General Howard was net a powerful enough incentive. "I 
don't feel like speechmaking; indeed, I never do, and though the 
meeting will be one in which I should be glad to appear, I shall 
not go." 86 On another occasion, Allen employed his good offices 
with singular success. He had met a Mr. Wright of Bladensburg, 
a Washington suburb, and when the elderly man revealed that 
he was "an old and warm friend" of President William Henry 
Harrison, Allen urged Ben to pay Wright a courtesy call. After 
he had raised the usual number of objections, Harrison yielded 
to the importunings of the gentleman of the cloth and agreed to 
visit his grandfather's friend. It turned out to be Harrison's most 
successful social venture, and certainly Carrie must have clapped 
as she scanned her husband's account of the meeting: 

Well, I went out to take a little ride last evening, and in returning 
through the town I stopped to see him [Mr. Wright]. He was very 

*& ibid. 

86 When one considers Harrison's personal friendship for both Chaplain Allen 
and General Howard, it argues to an increasing dislike for public speaking. Harri- 
son to his wife, May 29, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 


cordial and took me to his house where he introduced me to his 
daughters and insisted on me taking supper, though he had already 
had one. He lives in a frame house built in 1732, that was formerly 
used for a tavern. It was very plain and old fashioned but quite tidy 
and neat and his daughters appeared to be very intelligent and agree- 
able girls. The most enthusiastic Union people I have ever met. The 
old gentleman gave me a log cabin cane of very quaint and original 
construction, and though not of any great intrinsic value, quite an 
interesting and valuable relic. I shall not try to describe it for you, 
but will let you see when I get home. I have promised to call again 
and will take my band down to serenade them. He had four sons in 
the Union Army and seems to take the highest pleasure in sharing 
everything with a soldier. 87 

Discharge day finally dawned for Harrison and the Seventieth 
Indiana on June 8. W. A. Benotti, Washington military agent 
for Indiana, had succeeded at last in clearing all papers and af- 
fidavits. General Harrison was anxious to possess but one impor- 
tant document: "To all whom it may concern: Know ye, that 
Benjamin Harrison, a Colonel and Brev. Brig. GenL, 7oth Regi- 
ment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers, who was enrolled on the 
yth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, to 
serve three years or during the war, is hereby discharged from 
the service of the United States this eighth day of June, 1865, at 
Washington, D. C." 38 When he pocketed this paper, his military 
career was ended. Benjamin Harrison, " [thirty-two] years of age, 
five feet seven and one half inches high, fair complexion, blue 
eyes and light hair," 39 was, in virtue of this piece of paper, once 
again a civilian. As he walked back to headquarters to pick up 
his haversack and a few personal belongings, including presents 
for the children, he recalled the words of Sherman's farewell 
address: "As in war you have been good soldiers, so in peace you 
will make good citizens." 40 And just two days earlier, the ex- 
pectant citizens of Indianapolis read the message: "Prepare to 
grasp the hard hands of the Hoosiers who heard the call for the 
'600,000 more/ in i862." 41 

88 A copy of this document is in the Harrison MSS, Vol. 6, No. 1140. 

40 A reprint of Sherman's address appeared in the Indianapolis Daily Journal, 
June i, 1865. 

*., June 6, 1865. 


Early on the morning of June 9, Baltimore and Ohio freight 
cars welcomed General Harrison and his homeward-bound regi- 
ment. The train lurched and rattled through the hills of Mary- 
land and West Virginia, but, for the first time since 1862, the 
cars seemed only to purr. At dusk on the evening of June 10 they 
gladly boarded a steamboat headed for Lawrenceburg, Indiana, 
a spot Harrison remembered well from his younger days. 

A throng of citizens from Lawrenceburg and nearby towns 
were waiting to greet their native sons. Evidently, John Scott 
Harrison was too ill to join the welcoming committee. His dis- 
appointment at not seeing Benjamin immediately was deep, but 
he readily admitted that Carrie and the two children enjoyed 
special priorities on his affection. John Scott Harrison under- 
stood perfectly why his son boarded the first train for Indian- 
apolis, but he was grieved that his own well-made plans for a 
celebration did not materialize. He had hoped to honor his son, 
but instead had to communicate his surprise by letter: 

Your Grandma 42 when she gave me the medal voted your grand- 
father by Congress for his military services, said that after my death, 
it was to go to you bearing the old family name of Benjamin. I do 
not feel disposed to clutch this relic until death releases my grasp, 
and had intended to call together a limited number of your Ohio 
and Indiana friends . . . and present the family relic to your charge, 
for I really thought that you had by your efficient service in the late 
war fairly won the immediate possession of the medal. 48 

When the members of the Seventieth Indiana rolled into the 
Indianapolis depot, they soon knew that their friends and rela- 
tives had not been inactive. Every detail for a huge demonstra- 
tion had been arranged far in advance of their arrival. Every 
citizen in the Indiana capital was determined that "the men who 
fought the great battle of the Republic to a successful and glori- 
ous issue," 44 would be honored in a fitting way. As the members 
of Company A alighted, a lusty cheer shook the station. 

42 Mrs. William Henry Harrison had died while Benjamin was with the army in 

43 John Scott Harrison to his son, July 5, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 

AS early as June 9, Quartermaster-general Stone had alerted the people of In- 
dianapolis and made known detailed plans to welcome the returning heroes. 
Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 9, 1865. 


Harrison found the reward for which he so ardently yearned 
the embrace of his family. This first exchange of affections had 
to be curtailed, for an honorary escort was forming to conduct 
the veterans to the arsenal, "where we turned over our guns to 
the United States officials, and then went to the Soldiers' Home 
for dinner." 45 

In the week of receptions that followed, General and Mrs. 
Harrison had their hour of triumph. Not only was the general 
mentioned by name at the various victory rallies, but the Daily 
Journal editorialized his return, giving a rsum6 of his military 
accomplishments and noting that "he was so well appreciated by 
his superior officers that he was appointed Brevet Brigadier Gen- 
eral. His success as a military man was confidently expected by 
those who knew his talents and industry in civil life, and their 
expectations were completely realized." 46 

Climaxing the festivities was a joint demonstration held in 
honor of four returning Indiana regiments, the 22nd, 7oth, 74th, 
and 82nd, on Friday, June 16. Governor Morton, the principal 
speaker, was in rare form. The flowery exaggerations of his speech 
made his audience smile and somewhat embarrassed the return- 
ing heroes. He declared that the "crossing of the Alps by Na- 
poleon . . . dwindles into insignificance when compared with 
Sherman's march to the sea, or Grant's Vicksburg campaign." 
Even Harrison, student of history as he was, must have put his 
tongue in his cheek when the Governor rounded out one oratori- 
cal period with the claim that "the passage of the bridge of Lodi 
is another of the wonders of history. It was a mere skirmish com- 
pared with the storming of Fort Fisher, or the fortifications 
around Petersburg. This war will furnish the grandest chapter 
in the history of military achievements which the world has ever 
seen. The destiny of millions unborn has been shaped by it." 47 

45 Merrill, op. cit., p. 277. 

4 Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 14, 1865. Harrison shared the editorial spot- 
light with General Fred Knefler, who was also a leading Indianapolis attorney. 
After he had narrated their joint military accomplishments in some detail, the 
editor concluded by saying that "Indianapolis has a right to be proud of the officers 
and men she has sent to the field, and none are more worthy of the honor than 
Generals Knefler and Harrison." 

47 Indianapolis Daily Journal, June 17, 1865. The reporter who covered the 
meeting aptly remarked that "Gov. Morton manifests a remarkable fertility of 
resources in matter of speechmaking, not having as yet, occasion to repeat any of 
his speeches, nor any parts of them, in fact." 


Sun-browned veterans who "had put a girdle round about the 
earth" loudly cheered the Governor. Not since the celebrated 
charge at Resaca had so much lung power been expended. When 
Morton sat down, Harrison, whom he had singled out for special 
praise, was called on to speak. Carrie was in the audience and she 
thrilled to see her husband arise and command such attention. 
General Harrison aptly remarked that "the soldiers had been too 
long engaged in speaking with the muzzles of their rifles to listen 
to speeches. Yet he couldn't refuse to say a word or two to them/' 

He began by playing down Morton's allusion to enlisting when 
he did. After all, he said, "thousands here deserved more praise" 
than he did. He explained that he "did not turn out at the first 
outbreak of the rebellion, when, in over-confidence, we thought 
75,000 men adequate to the suppression of the rebellion." His 
decision came, he explained, when "the gigantic proportions and 
the malignant purpose [of the Confederacy] became fully de- 
veloped. It was not ambition, nor gain, but patriotism," that led 
him and his comrades forth. 

He preferred, he went on, to dwell on the scene familiar to 
all his hearers that of three years before, when, in less than 
thirty days, 1,020 men from Marion County were in Kentucky 
in quick response to Lincoln's call: 

I well remember three years ago, under the shade of these trees, 
when I made my first appeal to the men of Marion County. Now we 
are here again, sheltered by these same trees, but oh! how much 

brighter the skies God has been bountiful to us in prolonging our 

lives to see this day. Many who went out with us are not here. We 
buried them in Southern soil, but thank God the secession flag does 
not wave over them. They sleep in the soil of the great Republic. 

Profound silence greeted General Harrison's next remarks: 

Do you remember the enclosure, my Comrades, at the foot of the 
hill at Resaca, up which we made that fearful charge? How we gath- 
ered their torn blankets around them, and tenderly composed their 
limbs for the last sleep, casting branches of evergreen in their graves! 
They lie there still, and along by the wayside lie others. They were 
not permitted to return with us, but they left behind them honorable 
records. I almost feel that I would rather lie within that little mound 


at the foot of the hill, than to have had no participation in this strug- 
gle. These brave men lived to accomplish more for the good of their 
country than most men who go down silvered to the grave. 

After his stirring tribute to the dead, the general spoke boldly 
of the apprehensions (entertained in the city) of violence on the 
part of returned soldiers. First he turned to his own men and 
said: "People here have been quaking with terror, in apprehen- 
sion of your return, in anticipation of riot and bloodshed." Then 
he faced his audience and with a challenge in his voice, pro- 

But I tell you these men are just as good as you are, my timid 
friends. They own property here, and have just as much interest in 
preserving the peace as you. They will go into business here, and if 
you outstrip the men who followed Sherman to the sea, you will have 
to brighten your wits and quicken your pace, and they mean to be 
felt in politics as well as business. Not that they mean to monopolize 
the offices. But if anyone who is a candidate for office shall be shown 
to have been lukewarm in the good cause, the boys will brand him 
with the word written on the shoulders of played-out horses "con- 
demned."* 8 

Resounding cheers answered his words. When cannons began to 
thunder their salute, the crowd quieted down and rapidly dis- 

Before General Harrison could join Carrie and the children 
for a leisurely stroll to their home, Mayor Caven rushed up to 
congratulate him and to inform him that the Citizens' Commit- 
tee in charge of the Fourth of July celebration, had selected him 
as the special orator for the occasion. 

At last, the general and his family were alone. They were Ben 
and Carrie again, and one did not have to be a mind reader to 
sense the deep enjoyment and peace they experienced in one 
another's presence. They had waited three years for this hour; 
yet, unlike many others, they did not plan for the future. This 
had already been settled almost a month ago, and the general 
himself had set the pattern. Carrie had the blueprint in her 
pocketbook. It was a letter Ben had written from Washington, 
and for days now she had it memorized: 


. . . you do not seem willing of late to give me credit for the affection 
I do really feel for you and our home, 49 but if you could read my 
heart you would be satisfied that I do not speak half that I feel, and 
that no object of ambition or gain could ever lead me away from 
the side of my dear wife and children. I have no doubt from intima- 
tions I have received that I could go to Congress for our District at 
the next election, but positively I would not accept the office, for the 
reason that it would take me away from home so much. If my ambi- 
tion is to soar any more after I come home, you will have to give it 
wings, for I certainly long only for a life of quiet usefulness at home. 
You do not know how much I have thought since I left you last as 
to how I might make my home brighter and happier for you and the 
children. It has been in my mind on the march, on my cot, and even 
in my dreams. I know I have the best intentions and the strongest 
resolutions to devote myself more to your happiness than I have ever 
done since our marriage, and if I should fail, if you will meet my 
failure with a kind reminder of what I have promised, I have a good 
hope that every asperity may be banished from our family intercourse 
and that we may always express in our lives the devoted affection 
which I know we have for each other and must have till death parts 
us. I know you love me Carrie, with more devotion than most women 
are capable of, and I, so far as my heart or person are worth your 
acceptance, have given them all to you. Why then should we allow 
a word or thought or act to express any other feeling. I wish you 
could give me some little article of apparel or ornament that might 
always be before my eyes to remind me of the resolutions and vows I 
have made but I think I have a better idea still, I will bring you a 
little keepsake when I come home from the war which you shall al- 
ways wear, never putting it off til death shall separate us. And when 
I deliver it to you we will weave a spell about it that I shall make it 
to me a constant reminder of the resolutions and vows I have made 
in the army. Will you wear it and promise me always to hold it up 
before me when you see a cloud on my brow or hear hasty words from 
my lips? I have a good hope that by mutual help and by God's help, 
we may live the residue of our lives without having our hearts 1 sun- 
shine clouded by a single shade of mistrust or anger. I know it is pos- 
sible and I would rather succeed in such an effort than to have the 
highest honors of earth 50 

There was no need for an exchange of promises, as they walked 
home hand in hand. The light in Carrie's eyes was a proof of her 

* To this lengthy letter Harrison appended an important P.S. "Dear Carrie: I 
have just received and read your letter of the 14th inst., and though this letter was 
sealed and stamped, I tore it open to thank you for the affectionate tone of your 
letter. I cannot tell you how real good it did my heart. God bless you for it. With 
a heart brimful of love, Yours, Ben." 

> Harrison to his wife, May si, 1865, Harrison MSS, Vol. 6. 


renewed love and willingness to help her husband. She was de- 
termined that not only should he succeed in his efforts at home, 
but also, with her help, that he should have the highest honors 
of earth. Twenty-three years later, President and Mrs. Harrison 
were sure they had not failed. 


Manuscript Sources 

The primary sources for the early life and Civil War career of 
President Benjamin Harrison include: 

i. The extensive Benjamin Harrison collection housed in the Divi- 
sion of Manuscripts, Library of Congress. Closed to the public and 
research historians alike until 1948, this is the richest font of informa- 
tion. Described by the Division of Manuscripts card as: "Papers of 
Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), lawyer, soldier, U. S. Senator, 23rd. 
President of the U. S. Family letters and other papers covering the civil 
war period, a laxge body of papers representing the period of his serv- 
ice as a U. S. Senator, legal and official papers covering his post-presi- 
dential career in law, letter-books, scrap-books, etc, dated 1858-1931." 
A serviceable breakdown of these materials is as follows: 

183 volumes (bound) of approximately 40,000 pieces which, in the 
judgment of the curator of the Manuscripts Division deal pri- 
marily with Harrison's public life and activities. 

55 manuscript boxes (red) judged by library authorities as not 
pertaining to the public and/or political aspects of Harrison's 
life. They contain, however, much material essential to the 

58 volumes (bound) of newspaper clippings, now known as the 
Benjamin Harrison Scrapbook Series. Invaluable material on 
every phase of Harrison's private as well as his public life. 

18 manuscript boxes of Tibbott transcripts. Everard F. Tibbott, 
an Associated Press reporter, joined Harrison's staff in 1888. 
After Harrison left the White House, Tibbott became his effi- 
cient and faithful private secretary. 

8 manuscript boxes: "The Tibbott short hand books." Long 
after Harrison's death, Tibbott transcribed these thousands 
of letters from his own stenographic notebooks. These are the 
contents of the above-mentioned eighteen manuscript boxes 
of Tibbott transcripts. 

7 manuscript boxes of "Legal material from 1851-1900." 
3 manuscript boxes of Harrison and Wallace Law Firm corre- 

80 manuscript boxes of miscellaneous materials: personal bills, 
checks, notes, lectures, photographs, galley proofs, invita- 
tions, guest lists, pamphlets, telegrams, memorials, etc. 



2. The next largest collection of Benjamin Harrison Papers is housed 
in the Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library (Indianapolis). 

Sundry items are scattered in the approximately fifty collections 
catalogued and indexed, covering the years 1855 to 1901. 

3. A small number of private and family papers, rich in biographical 
details, are on file at the President Benjamin Harrison Memorial 
Home, 1230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. 

4. The papers of William Henry Harrison Miller, Attorney General 
during Harrison's administration (1889-93) and Harrison's law part- 
ner for a quarter of a century, are now in the possession of the author. 
Invaluable for recollections. 

5. Other manuscript sources in the Library of Congress especially 
pertinent to ancestral background, early life, and military career are: 

a. John Scott Harrison Papers. 

b. William Henry Harrison Papers. 
c Joseph R. Hawley Papers. 

d. Louis T. Michener Papers. 

e. John Sherman Papers. 

1 The Short Family Papers. 

Civil War manuscript material is abundant in the Indiana Division, 
Indiana State Library. Particularly useful are: 

a. John Coburn MSS. 

b. Schuyler Colfax MSS. 

c. Calvin Fletcher Papers and Diary, 1861-1862 Indiana His- 
torical Society Library. 

dVallette Miller MSS. 

e. Oliver P. Morton MSS. 

f. Daniel D.Pratt MSS. 

g. Benjamin Spooner MSS. (photostats) 
h. Richard W. Thompson MSS. 

By far the most serviceable letters for this study were the papers of 
Samuel K. Harryman, 1862-65; and war letters, camp life, campaigns, 
and experiences of the Seventieth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, 
account of Sherman's March to the Sea. 

6. Certain manuscript collections, though not cited in the footnotes to 
this volume, contain material pertinent to Harrison's character and 
place in history. They have been examined by the author with a view 
to forming an over-all mature value judgment of Benjamin Harrison. 
In the Division of Manuscripts, Library of Congress, the most helpful 
were the papers of: 


Wharton Barker, Thomas F. Bayard, Jeremiah S. Black, James G. 
Blaine, the Blair Family, the Breckinridge Family, Benjamin H. 
Bristow, W. P. Bynum, Simon Cameron, Andrew Carnegie, William 
E. Chandler, James S. Clarkson, Grover Cleveland, Chauncey M. 
Depew, Don M. Dickinson, William Evarts, John W. Foster, William 
D. Foulke, James A. Garfield, Walter Q. Gresham, Eugene Hale, 
Eugene Gano Hay, John Hay, Horatio King, Daniel S. Lamont, 
William McKinley, Daniel Manning, Manton Marble, John T. 
Morgan, Justin S. Monill, Richard Olney, Mathew S. Quay, Theo- 
dore Roosevelt, Carl Schurz, William T. Sherman, John C. Spooner, 
Benjamin F. Tracy, Henry Watterson, William C. Whitney, John 
Russell Young. 

7. Other archival collections which yielded material were: 

The papers of William Boyd Allison, Grenville M. Dodge, James S. 
Clarkson, and John A. Kasson all in the Historical Memorial and 
Art Department of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa. 

The papers and the diary of John Bigelow and the papers of Levi P. 
Morton in the Manuscripts Division of the New York Public Library. 

The papers of Nils P. Haugen, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Jeremiah 
Rusk, Ellis Usher, William F. Vilas in the State Historical Society of 
Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. 

The papers of Terence B. Powderly in the Mullen Library of the 
Catholic University of America. 

The papers of Whitelaw Reid (privately owned). 

The papers of James Cardinal Gibbons (in the archives of the Arch- 
diocese of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland). 

Pertinent newspaper material is found in the following: American 
Eagle (Paoli, Indiana), Boston Daily Advertiser, Chicago Weekly 
Inter-Ocean, Cincinnati Commercial, Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincin- 
nati Gazette, Columbia (S. C.) Record, Detroit Tribune, Fort Wayne 
Sentinel, Indianapolis Atlas, Indianapolis Daily Journal, Indianapo- 
lis Locomotive, Indianapolis News, Indianapolis Old Line Guard, 
Indianapolis Sentinel, New Orleans Times-Democrat, New York 
Daily Tribune, New York Evening Post, New York Mail and Express^ 
New York Times, Omaha Bee, Richmond (Va.) State, St. Louis Post- 
Dispatch, Washington Chronicle, Washington Post, the Herald and 
Enterprise (Russellville, Ky.), Parke County (Indiana) Republican. 

In addition to a plenitude of identified newspaper clippings which 
form the bulk of the fifty-eight-volume Scrapbook Series in the Harri- 
son Papers (Library of Congress), attention is called to a valuable 
three-volume Scrapbook Series in the Indiana State Library, the gift 
of Russell B. Harrison, the President's son. Its chief merit lies in the 


universal newspaper coverage given to the death and funeral of Benja- 
min Harrison in 1901. Russell Harrison had subscribed to several 
clipping services and carefully preserved the unfavorable as well as 
the favorable news and editorial comment. 

Published Sources 

Adams, Charles Francis. Charles Francis Adams, 1835-1915: An Auto- 
biography. Boston and New York, Houghton, 1916. 

Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams. New York, Modern 
Library, 1931. 

Alexander, De Alva S. Four Famous New Yorkers. New York, Holt, 

Alumni and Former Student Catalogue of Miami University, 1809- 

1892, Oxford, Ohio, 1892. 
Auchampaugh, Philip G. "The Buchanan-Douglas Feud," Journal of 

the Illinois State Historical Society, 25 (193*), 5-48. 
Bailey, Louis J. "Caleb Blood Smith," Indiana Magazine of History, 

29 (1933), 213-39- 

Beale, Howard K. (ed.). The Diary of Edward Bates 1859-1866. 
(American Historical Association Annual Report, 1930, Vol. IV.) 
Washington, D. C., Government Printing Office, 1933. 

. "What Historians Have Said about the Causes of the Civil 

War," in Bulletin 54, Theory and Practice in Historical Study: A 
Report of the Committee on Historiography. New York, Soc. Sci. 
Res. Council, 1946, 53-102. 

Benjamin Harrison Memorial Commission, Report of. (77th Con- 
gress, ist Session, House Document No. 154.) Washington, D. C., 
Government Printing Office, 1941. 

Beveridge, A. J. Abraham Lincoln. Boston and New York, Houghton, 
1928. 2 vols. 

Bond, Beverley W., Jr. The Foundations of Ohio. The History of the 
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"A Statement of the Obligation under 
which Every Man is to Give Assist- 
ance to the Poor and Needy Accord- 
ing as God has prospered him," 
title of Harrison's collegiate com- 
position (No. 13), 38 

Abolition ticket, name applied by In- 
diana's Democratic press to 1864 
Republican slate, 273 

Abolitionist-Liberty party, r61e of, in 
1848 election, 39, n.Q4 

Acton (Ind.), site of Harrison's first 
stump speech, 122 

Adams, Charles Francis, expresses dis- 
trust of Lincoln as "absolutely un- 
known quantity," 158 

Adams, Henry, comment on Harrison, 

Adams, John, President, 4 

Adams, John Quincy, President, in 
1828 appoints W. H. Harrison Min- 
ister to Colombia, 17 

"Administrative Ben," nickname 
gained by Harrison while directing 
Ward's Brigade in Tennessee, 239 

Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.), notes 
Harrison as only Phi Delta Thetan 
to become President of the U.S., 58, 

Agnew, D. Hayes, eminent Philadel- 
phia surgeon, 18, 0.51 

Aiken, William, U.S. congressman, pre- 
vents riot during debate on Nebraska 
Bill, 120 

Alexander, De Alva Stanwood, cam- 
paigns for Harrison in Indiana 
gubernatorial race, xvii; offers help 
to Tibbott on Harrison biography, 
xvii; prepares Harrison memorabilia 
for J. L. Griffiths, xviii; The Political 
History of the State of New York 

by, xviii; writes letter to W. H. H. 
Miller on Harrison biography prob- 
lem, xix; death of, xx; comments on 
Harrison, xxiii 

Alexander the Great, mentioned by 
Harrison, 41 

Alexandria (Va.), camping site for 
Harrison's command while awaiting 
participation in the Grand Review, 


Allatoona (Ga.), fifty miles from At- 
lanta, a danger zone for Harrison, 
259, n.44 

Allen, Chaplain, 7oth Ind., requests 
Harrison to address memorial meet- 
ing of chaplains, 310 

Alps, crossing of, by Napoleon com- 
pared to military feats of Grant and 
Sherman, 313 

Alvord, Clarence W., xxi 

American Eagle (Paoli, Ind.), reflects 
growing crisis over slavery question, 
136; prints Harrison's assault on 
John Bell's presidential candidacy, 

American party, 116, 123; in 1856 sup- 
ports Fillmore for presidency, 124; 
employs J. S. Harrison to stump 
Ohio and Kentucky for Fillmore 
and against Fremont, 124; claims 
A. I. Harrison, Ben's brother, as a 
member, 129, 132; engages in bitterly 
partisan politics, 136; see also Know- 
Nothing party 

Amherst (N.H.), origin of humorous 
divorce case, 106-7 

Ancestry (Harrison family), as an im- 
portant factor in Benjamin's devel- 
opment, 10-11 

Anderson, John Alexander, Harrison's 
roommate at Miami U. (q-v.), re- 
calls campus days, 50; begins firm 
and lasting friendship, 53; accepts 


teaching post at Mt. Pleasant 
Academy (Kingston, O.), 53; warns 
Ben against overwork at Miami, 60- 
61; hears complaints against pro- 
fessional studies, 71; weighs prob- 
lem of Ben's early marriage, 72-73, 
75-76; shares friend's chagrin as 
suitor, 74; learns itinerary of pre- 
honeymoon jaunt, 74; reads that his 
own father, William Anderson (q.v.), 
favors early marriage, 78; fully ap- 
prised of wedding preparations, 79- 
81; attends early morning nuptials, 
82, n.6i; tries to persuade Ben to 
settle in city more suitable than In- 
dianapolis, 103-4; fears "like father, 
like son" pattern in J. Scott Har- 
rison's vote for Fillmore, 124 
Anderson, John B., listed as New Al- 
bany (Ind.) reference for attorney 
Harrison, 101, 11.45 

Anderson, William C., president of 
Miami U. (1849-1854), 46, 48; signs 
Harrison's college diploma, 65, 11.70; 
favors Ben's early marriage to Carrie 
Scott (q.v.), 78 
Anti-abolitionism, favored by J. S. 

Harrison in letter to Ben, 123 
Appomattox (Va.), Lee's surrender to 

Grant at, 297 

Army of Georgia, headed by Gen. 
Henry W. Slocum at the Grand Re- 
view, 307 

Army of the Cumberland, creation of, 
and command under Gen. Rosecrans 
(q-v.) t 217; severe losses at Stone 
Ridge render it ineffective for first 
six months of 1863, 22 5> Sherman's 
reorganization plans for, 232; adds 
61,000 men and 130 guns, under 
Gen. Thomas (q.v.) to Sherman's 
command, 234; in February, 1864, 
leaves winter quarters, 235; moves 
towards Ringold (Ga.), anticipating 
Confederate offensive, 244 
Army of the Ohio, Gen. Buell's record 
as commander of, 216, 11.19; aug- 
ments Sherman's command by 14,000 
men and 28 guns under Gen. Scho- 
field (q.v.) f 234 

Army of the Potomac, under Grant's 
command, 232; in review at Rich- 
mond her spruce soldiers are con- 
trasted with shabby appearance of 
Sherman's command, 303; on May 
23, 1865, enjoys day of triumph at 
the Grand Review, 304-5; criticized 

by Sherman for acting like "countr 
gawks," 305; judged by Harrison a 
second-best in marching excellence 
306, 308 

Army of the Tennessee (Confederate) 
by joint strategy Grant and Sher 
man plan downfall of, 232; routec 
by Gen. Thomas at Nashville, 283- 

Army of the Tennessee (Union), in 
creases Sherman's command by 24, 
ooo men and 96 guns under leader 
ship of Gen. McPherson (q.v.), 234- 
history of its heroic exploits in 
trigues spectators at the Grand Re- 
view, 305; marches through the 
miasmatic marshes of Mississippi 
the Yazoo, and Tennessee are com- 
pared to Xenophon's Anabasis, 305 
Arnold, Benedict, 1781 invasion of 

Virginia by, 14 

Arthur Jordan Foundation (Indian- 
apolis), commissions Harrison biog- 
raphy, xxiii; restores Benjamin Har- 
rison home as a national memorial, 
100, n.4i 

Atlanta (Ga.), campaign of, 228; city 
not originally a Union objective in 
the spring of 1864, *34; first general 
engagement of, preceded by tension 
and heavy troop concentration, 243; 
Federal capture of Resaca (Ga.) 
closes important phase of, 252; city 
exposed by Gen. Johnston's strategic 
retreats, 256; city as Sherman's ob- 
jective in, 256-57; city pronounced 
by Jefferson Davis as "vital to the 
life of the Confederacy," 259; area 
stoutly defended despite Union 
pressure, 262; long siege continues, 
263; city falls into Union hands on 
September 2, 1864, 264-65; men- 
tioned, 266, 268, 272, 278, 287, 292; 
vividly recalled during the Grand 
Review, 306 

Auburn (Ky.) t railroad bridge at, par- 
tially destroyed by Confederate 
forces, restored by Harrison's regi- 
ment, 200 
Augusta (Ga.), 234 


Baker, John S., excused from 1852 
commencement oration at Miami U , 

6 4 

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, carries 


homecoming 7oth Ind. from Wash- 
ington (D.C.), 312 

Banks, Nathaniel P., U.S. congressman, 
elected as Republican Speaker of the 
House, 123; manifests vindictiveness 
towards J. S. Harrison, 123 

"Barnburner" faction, group of N.Y. 
Democrats in 1848 election, 39, 11.94 

Barnes, Doctor, a Southern sympa- 
thizer, pursued in vicinity of Rus- 
sellville (Ky.), 203-7 

Bassett, Elizabeth, wife of Benjamin 
Harrison, "the Signer," 14 

Bates, Edward, a Missouri Whig and 
former U.S. congressman, enjoys 
political popularity in Indiana, 141; 
co-favorite with Lincoln among 
Hoosiers at 1860 national conven- 
tion, 145 

Bates House (Indianapolis), 94, 131; 
scene of Lincoln's pre-inaugural ad- 
dress, 160 

Beale, Howard K., historian, cited on 
causes of the Civil War, 136, n.8 

Beaufort (N.C.), its railroad link with 
Wilmington (N.C.) captured by Gen. 
Sherman, 294 

Beauregard, P. G. T., Confederate gen- 
eral, holds strategy conference with 
Gen. Hood (q.v.), 278 

Beaver, Gen. James A., rides in ad- 
vance of 1889 inaugural parade, 6 

Beecher, Henry Ward, controversial 
churchman, son of Lyman Beecher 
(q.v.) t 28, 135, n.3 

Beecher, Lyman, Presbyterian pastor 
in Cincinnati and president of Lane 
Seminary, father of Henry Ward 
Beecher (q.v.) and Harriet Beecher 
Stowe (q-v.), 28, n.42 

Bell, John, U.S. senator, nominated 
for presidency by National Consti- 
tutional Unionists (q.v.), 146; 1860 
candidacy of, supported by political 
die-hard J. S. Harrison, 154 

"Ben Harrison vs. John Bell," editorial 
caption in American Eagle (q-v.), 


Benet, S. V., Union captain, translator 
of dejomini's work on military af- 
fairs, 227-28, n.72 

Benotti, W. A., military agent for In- 
diana, sets Harrison's and yoth Ind.'s 
discharge for June 8, 1865, 311 

Benton, William, Chicago attorney and 
close school friend to Ben, encour- 


ambitions, 73-74; congratulates Har- 
rison on expert practice in federal 
courts, 1 08 

Bentonville (N.C.), Sherman's defeat 
of Johnston at, 294 

Bible, used at Centennial Inaugura- 
tion and now preserved at Harrison 
Memorial Home (Indianapolis), 5, 
n. 5 

Bible reading, fixed habit of Mrs. W. 
H. Harrison, 28-29; symbol of r61e 
religion played in Indianapolis fam- 
ily life, 110-11 

Big Crow Creek (Tenn.), 237-38 

Big Miami River (Ohio), site of Har- 
rison's boyhood memories, 20-21 

Bishop, Dr. Robert Hamilton, Scottish 
educator and senior faculty member 
at Farmers' College, 31; praised by 
chancellor of the University of the 
City of New York, 31-32; "Scottish 
Sage," 33; method of teaching styled 
eminently progressive, 33-36; al- 
leged as first in U.S. to teach a sys- 
tematic social philosophy, 37; desig- 
nated as "the Father of American 
Sociology," 37; ministerial back- 
ground of, 38; influences young Har- 
rison, 41; expresses sympathy on 
death of Ben's mother, 45; warmly 
thanked for love and devotion, 45; 
introduces Harrison to Dr. J. W. 
Scott (q.v.), 47; linked with William 
Holmes McGuffey and John W. 
Scott as illustrious educator of the 
early West, 47, n^; inaugurated in 
1825 ** Miami U.'s first president, 
48; teaches Ben a "healthy inde- 
pendence of thought," 61; receives 
1855 letter indicating Harrison's 
progress as a lawyer, 105; views on 
fiction of, 226 

Bishop, R. H., Jr., son of Robert Ham- 
ilton Bishop (q.v.), signs Harrison's 
college diploma, 65, n-7o 

Black Lick Ravine (Ky.), site of Har- 
rison's reconnaissance prior to Rus- 
sellville victory, 200 

Blackguardism, father's warning to 
Ben to avoid, on the stump, 148 

Blackstone, Sir William, English jurist, 
Harrison's study of, 83 

Blaine, James G., supported by Har- 
rison-led Hoosier delegation for 
1880 Republican presidential nomi- 
nation, 7 

ages latter's matrimonial and legal Blair's Landing (S.C.), 290-91; train- 



ing base for Sherman's reinforce- 
ments, 292, 294, 296 

Blakely, Lucy, Southern matron, and 
the Russellville (Ky.) skirmish, 203 

"Bloody shirt," waved by Harrison in 
1864 partisan harangue, 276 

Boggess, C. H., spokesman for Shelby 
County (Ind.) f invites Harrison to 
practice law and politics at Shelby- 
ville, 109; renews request during 
1856 campaign, 122 

Bolton, Herbert E., xxi 

Boude, John Knox, excused from ora- 
tion at 1852 Miami U. commence- 
ment, 64 

"Bounty jumpers," Harrison's solution 
to problem of desertion of, in South 
Carolina, 292 

Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Me.), 
48-49, n.i2, 66 

Bowling Green (Ky.), strategic military 
center 30 miles above Tennessee 
border, 190-93; rumored objective 
of Confederate Col. John Morgan, 
191; scene of several weeks' drill 
and strict discipline for 7Oth Ind., 
193-96; Union camp alert for com- 
bat at, 198-99; spirit of unrest 
among Harrison's troops at, 213 

Boyle, J. T., Union general, orders 
Harrison's regiment to pitch camp 
three miles outside of Louisville, 


Bragg, Braxton, Confederate general, 
enters Kentucky with large force and 
threatens Ohio and Indiana, 177; 
advances Confederate cause, 198; 
makes serious threat on Kentucky, 
212; diverted from Louisville, heads 
for Lexington, 216; concentrates 
forces near Murfreesboro (Tenn.), 
223; Stone River casualties under, 
include 1,294 killed and 7,945 
wounded, 224, 11.54 

Breckinridge, John C., Vice-President, 
1860 presidential nominee of South- 
ern branch of Democratic party, 
146; record compared with Bell's by 
Harrison, 147 

Bridgeport (Ala.), 238 

Brigney, Union major, praises Har- 
rison's qualities as an officer, 228 

Brooks, Preston, U.S. congressman, 
canes Sen. Simmer (q.v.) and sparks 
bitter controversy, 123-24 

Brown, Hilton U., aids Harrison biog- 
raphy project, xviii; describes fund to 

assist official biographer, xxi; cited 
on Harrison's fraternity activities, 
58, n.46 

Brown, Ignatius, cited as author of 
history of Indianapolis (1818-1868), 
91, nn.14, 15 

Browning, Robert, druggist, lends 
Harrison money, 95, 102; joins Har- 
rison in 1858 New Year's Day reso- 
lution to abstain from tobacco, 129 

Bruce, S. D. f Union colonel, commands 
provisional brigade, 193; draws 
"strings tight on saloons" in Bowl- 
ing Green area, 194; orders Harrison 
to command reconnaissance expedi- 
tion to Russellville (Ky.), 199-202 

Bryan, T. B., Chicago attorney, ad- 
vises Harrison to practice law in 
Cincinnati rather than in Chicago, 
85; serves as Harrison's legal refer- 
ence in Chicago, 101, 11.45 

Buchanan, James, President, defeats 
J. C. Fre'mont by 500,000 votes in 
nation and by 20,000 in Indiana, 
125; mentioned, 132; administration 
repudiated in Indiana by Douglas 
Democrats, 137; long-standing feud 
with Douglas splits Democratic 
party, 145 

Buckner, Simon B., Confederate gen- 
eral, erects almost impregnable 
fortifications in area of Bowling 
Green (Ky.) 193 

Buell, Don Carlos, Union general, re- 
turn of, from Tennessee recalled by 
Harrison, 177; severely criticized for 
overcaution, 198; removed as com- 
mander of the Department of the 
Ohio, 217; called "scapegoat for dis- 
appointed Union party politicians/' 
217, n.23; hampered by broken sup- 
ply line, 223 

Buena Vista (Mexico), Battle of, 39 

Buffalo (N.Y.), 74 

"Buffalo Bill," see Cody, William 

Bull Run, scene of Union reverse and 
intensification of Northern war feel- 
ing, 174, 176 

Bulwer-Lytton, novels of, read by 
Harrison in camp at Gallatin 
(Tenn.), 226 

"Bummers," see "Bummers Brigade" 

"Bummers Brigade," 2oth Army Corps' 
allegedly wild and undisciplined 
foragers exhibit subordination and 
precision during the Grand Review, 


Burgess, James, Union colonel, com- 
mands 7oth Ind. Vol. Inf. during 
preliminary training at Indianapo- 
lis, 184; appoints Thuer postmaster 
for 7oth Ind., 220, n.38; studies 
Hardee's volume on infantry tactics, 

Burton, Theodore E., Ohio senator, 
suggested as Harrison's biographer, 

Bushbeck, Adolphus, Union general, 
commands brigade under Gen. J. W. 
Geary (q.v.), 232, n.Q7 

Butterfield, Daniel, Union general, 
chief of staff to "Fighting Joe" 
Hooker, 232; commands 3d Div. of 
2oth Army Corps, 232, n.Q7; sug- 
gests activation of Ward's Brigade, 
233; participates in the Battle of 
Resaca (Ga.), 251-52; sustains heavy 
losses at Battle of New Hope Church 
(Ga.), 254 

Butterworth, Benjamin, U.S. congress- 
man, describes Harrison's life on the 
farm, 23 

Buzzard's Roost (Ga.), Confederate 
stronghold prior to Atlanta cam- 
paign, 244 

Caesar, Julius, his Commentaries in 
W. H. Harrison's library, 26; Col. 
Ben's assurance to wife that his own 
merits do not equal those of the 
Roman general, 264 

Calvin, John, creed forms backbone of 
Presbyterian Church, ua 

Camp Bateman (Territory of Kansas), 

133' n -95 

Camp Morton (Indianapolis), Confed- 
erate prison, scene of first military 
duty for newly recruited 7Oth Ind., 
186, n.97 

Camp Sherman, near Blair's Landing, 
thirty miles from the South Carolina 
coast, 290-91; newly arrived con- 
tingents at, placed under Harrison's 
command, 292 

Campbell, Lewis D., U.S. congressman, 
heads bitter filibuster against Ne- 
braska Bill (q.v.), 120 

Candy, Charles, Union general, com- 
mands brigade under Gen. J. W. 
Geary (q.v), 232, n.97 

Carman, E. A., Union general, histo- 


corresponds with Harrison, 212, n.i, 
218, n.26, 230, n.8g, 231,, re- 
ceives Harrison's testimony on cour- 
age of Confederate soldiers at Resaca 
(Ga.), 250, n.i4 

Carter, Robert (King), representative 
of one of wealthiest native-born 
American families and Benjamin 
Harrison's great-great-great grand- 
father, 13 

Cary, Dr. Freeman G., principal of 
Farmers' College, stern disciplinarian 
and horticulturist, 30; requests Rob- 
ert H. Bishop (q.v.) to formulate a 
new policy of discipline, 33 
Cary, Samuel Fenton, brother of 
Freeman G., holds office in "Sons of 
Temperance" (q.v.), 30 
Gary's Academy, the original Farmers' 

College (q.v.), 29 

Casey, Silas, author of Infantry Tac- 
tics, 227 

Cash, Addison, a free Negro, aids Har- 
rison with vital information during 
war, 203 

Cass, Gen. Lewis, 1848 Democratic 
presidential nominee, 39; negotiates 
1818 treaty with Delaware and Mi- 
ami Indians, 91, n.i6 
Catholicism, 1856 presidential cam- 
paign issue used against Fremont, 

Caven, John, designated Harrison's 
deputy as Indiana Supreme Court 
Reporter, 184-85; removed by court 
action, 208-9, 213; as Indianapolis 
mayor (1863-1867), informs Harrison 
of his selection as Fourth-of-July 
orator in 1865, 315 
Chamberlain's, a Washington (D.C.) 

boarding house, 9 
Champion, coastal steamer during the 

Civil War, 296-97 

Chancellorsville (Va.), skeleton-strewn 
battlefield at, shocks Union troops 
en route to Washington, 303 
Charleston (S.C.), site of 1860 Demo- 
cratic National Convention, 146; 
street talk in, reveals mounting fears 
two days after Lincoln's election, 
155; batteries of, open fire on Fort 
Sumter, 162; 288; 309 
Chase, Philander, president of Cin- 
cinnati College, founder of Kenyon 
College (Gambier, O.), and later 
Bishop (Episcopal) of Ohio, 17 

rian of Hooker's 2oth Army Corps, Chase, Salmon P., U.S. senator, origi- 



nally a New Englander, associated in 
Cincinnati with Bellamy Storer (q.v.), 
68, n.g; criticized by J. S. Harrison 
for intemperate views of the South, 

Chattanooga (Tenn.), 292; concentra- 
tion of Confederate troops at, under 
Gen. Bragg (q.v.), 177, 231; becomes 
Gen. Sherman's headquarters in 
spring of 1864, 244; witnesses Gen. 
Thomas' (q.v.) efforts to reorganize 
middle Tennessee defenses against 
Gen. Nathan Forrest (q.v.), 277, 
n4*; 1864 provisional detachment of 
Union troops at, under command of 
Maj. Gen. J. B. Steedman (q.v.) t 
279; evacuated by Union forces des- 
tined to support Gen. Thomas 
against Gen. Hood at Nashville, 280 

Cheatham, B. F. f Confederate general, 
joins Hood in pursuit of Schofield, 
280; meets defeat while commanding 
Confederates' right flank at Nash- 
ville, 282-83 

Chesnut, Mrs. Mary, her diary records 
Southern fear of "black radical Re- 
publicans," 155 

Chicago (111.), highly regarded by 
Harrison, 81; described in 1854 as a 
"young city, having the appearance 
of a village extended," 85, n-72; 
wigwam welcomes 1860 Republican 
national convention to, 154; Har- 
rison's 1898 Lincoln Day address at, 


Chickamauga River, linked with ru- 
mored rebel offensive near Ringold 
(Ga.), 242; battleground trespassed 
by 7oth Ind., 244; Gen. J. B. Hood's 
role at, 278 

Childs, James H., graduates with Har- 
rison from Miami U., and speaks on 
"He is the Freeman whom the 
Truth makes Free," 64 

Chronicle (Washington, B.C.), reporter 
for, explains why crowd at the 
Grand Review held Army of the 
Tennessee in high esteem, 305 

Cincinnati (Ohio), 15-16, 83-84; amaz- 
ing growth of, between 1805 and 
1830, as "Queen City," 20; site of 
Ben Harrison's apple stealing, 27; 
newspapers of, supplied Ben at Mi- 
ami U., 50; college of, in 1853 has 
only department of law in Ohio, 67; 
further and rapid growth of, be- 
tween 1839 and 1850, 68, 83-84; 

press lauds Harrison's baptism under 
enemy fire, 253 

Cincinnati College, alma mater of 
John Scott Harrison, 17; has only 
department of law in Ohio, 67 

City Attorney (Indianapolis), office of, 
1857 Republican candidacy for, of- 
fered to and accepted by Harrison, 
126; Harrison's election to, 127; Har- 
rison's disinterest in second term as, 


Clay, Cassius Marcellus, attempts or- 
ganization of Republican party in 
Kentucky, 139; loses support of Har- 
rison and other Hoosier Republi- 
cans, 145 

Clay, Henry, 138; America's renowned 
Compromiser, 139; cited by Harri- 
son during 1860 campaign, 140; 1844 
campaign banner of, presented to 
Gen. Paine (q.v.), 230 

Claybaugh, Rev. Dr. Joseph, Presby- 
terian divine and Miami U. profes- 
sor, tries to "convert the sinners of 
Oxford" by "revivals," 59; signs 
Harrison's academic diploma, 65, 

Clayton Village (Hendricks Co., Ind.), 
Harrison's celebrated 1888 address to 
veterans of 7oth Ind. at, 177, njjS 

Cleburne, P. R., Confederate general, 
deploys forces to join Gen. Johnston 
near Dalton (Ga.), 235 

Clermont (Ind.), at open-air court, 
Harrison earns first legal fee, 95 

Cleveland, Grover, President, accom- 
panies Harrison to inaugural stand, 
5; fails to attend luncheon honor- 
ing his presidential successor, 6: al- 
legedly loses his chance to make his- 
tory: "instead of striking the lion, 
he kicked the donkey" in Sackville- 
West affair, 8,; polls larger 
popular vote than Harrison in 1888 
election, 10, n.i5 

Clover Hill (Va.), Harrison's com- 
plaint-filled missive to Carrie from, 

Coburn, John, Union general, com- 
mands brigade at Resaca (Ga.), 250; 
notes active support by Harrison, 
252; directs brigade at Peach Tree 
Creek and supports Harrison's cele- 
brated charge, 260-61; ranked with 
Harrison as Indiana's "most deserv- 
ing and best colonels," 287 

Cockrell, Francis M., veteran senator, 


marches in Harrison's inaugural 
parade, 5 

Cody, William ("Buffalo Bill"), leads 
Colorado cowboys at Harrison's in- 
auguration, 7 

Coke, Sir Edward, English jurist, Har- 
rison's study of, 83 

College Hill, site of Gary's Academy 
(Farmers' College [q.v.]) t 31-32, 38, 


College of South Carolina (Columbia), 
48-49, n.i2 

Colley, Sims, distinguished Indianapo- 
lis attorney, 96 

Columbia (S.C.), 294 

Columbia City (Ind.), Harrison's 1864 
effort to re-elect Lincoln at, 376, 


Columbia University (N.Y.), 48-49, 

Columbus, Christopher, discovery of 
America by, compared to Buell's 
arrival at Bowling Green (Ky.), 198 

Commercial (Cincinnati), called an 
organ for Republican venom and 
filth, 131 

Commissioner for the Court of Claims 
(Indianapolis), office of, Harrison's 
successful quest for, 108 

Compromise of 1850, cited by Harri- 
son during 1860 campaign, 140 

Confederate Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, object of Grant's strategy, 232 

Confederate strategy, as outlined by 
Gen. Hood after the fall of Atlanta, 

Conner and Fishback, respected law 
firm in Indianapolis, 171, 11.35 

Cooper, William, Union private, Co. 
F., 7oth Ind., punches unpatriotic 
heckler and draws first blood for 
regiment, 187 

Copperheads, lashed by Harrison, 214; 
hopes of, dashed by guns of victori- 
ous Union forces, 267; described be- 
fore fall of Atlanta, 272; attacked by 
Harrison during 1864 campaign, 
274-75; opposition to use of Negro 
troops by, 276 

Corinth (Miss.), Battle of, false Hoos- 
ier hopes after, 176 

Courtland (Ala.), Union pursuit of 
Gen. Hood after Battle of Nashville 
to, 284; scene of Confederate defect, 

Cowboy Club (Denver, Colo.), rides 
under Buffalo Bill (q.v.) at Cen- 
tennial Inauguration, 7 


Craighead, John P., declaims on "Pub- 
lic Opinion" as his commencement 
address, 64 

Craighead and Browning, famed In- 
dianapolis drug and chemical deal- 
ers, 95, n.28 

Crane and Mason, Greencastle (Ind.) 
law firm, cited on Harrison's grow- 
ing eminence at the Indiana bar, 

Crittenden, Thomas L., Union general, 
commands division of Army of the 
Cumberland under Gen. Rosecrans 
(q.v.), 217-18 

Crook, Col. W. H., cited on Harrison's 
wearing a silk hat and frock coat, 
81, n-54 

Cruft, Charles, Union general, assigns 
Harrison to command brigade at 
Chattanooga, 279; after Nashville, 
recommends that Harrison be pro- 
moted immediately to rank of 
brigadier general, 285-86 

Cumback, Will, 132, nn.go, 92 

Cumberland (Md.), 168 

Cumberland Gap (Tenn.), advance of 
Gen. Kirby-Smith (q.v.) through, 

Cumberland River (Tenn.), 221 

Cunningham, Rev. Mr., sermon cited 
in Harrison's diary, 129 

Custer, George, Union general, cheered 
at the Grand Review, 304 

Daily Atlas (Indianapolis), pictures 
Harrison as stump speaker during 
1860 campaign, 143; founded by 
John Defrees (q.v.), 289, n-7 

Daily Citizen (Indianapolis), a short- 
lived Republican paper, 136 

Daily Gazette (Fort Wayne, Ind.), xvii 

Daily Sentinel (Indianapolis), carries 
Hilton U. Brown's (q.v.) tribute to 
Harrison, 58, 11.46; attacks Lincoln 
as "a theorist, a dreamer," 158-59; 
battles Journal over Civil War is- 
sues, 175; declares Union draft un- 
constitutional, 212; spreads false re- 
port that 7oth Ind. had not been 
officially mustered into U.S. service, 
214, n.g, 215; arouses Harrison's 
wrath by editorial attacks, 220; 
warns readers against the corrup- 
tions of Morton and the suicidal 
policy of Lincoln, 271; alleges that 



John Scott Harrison would not vote 
for his own son in 1864, 273 

Dalton (Ga.) f area of Confederate en- 
trenchment and troop consolidation 
in 1864, 235; flanked by Federal 
troops at, 243; 70th Ind/s advance 
toward, within six miles of Confed- 
eracy's finest troops, 244; Harrison 
detained here because of destroyed 
railroad, 279 

Dancing, arraigned as sinful by Pres- 
byterians and Congregationalists, 55; 
Harrison's refusal to indulge in, 
during camp socials, 229 

Dartmouth College (Hanover, N.H.), 
48-49, n.i2 

Davis, Jefferson, President of the Con- 
federacy, 203; calls Atlanta "vital to 
the life of the Confederacy," urging 
Gen. Johnston's resignation in favor 
of Gen. Hood, 259 

Davis, Jeff, Union general, with i4th 
Army Corps participates in the 
Grand Review, 307 

Davis, John G., U.S. congressman, pres- 
ent at Harrison-Hendricks debate, 

15 1 

Decatur (Term.), Federal pursuit of 
Gen. Hood to, after Nashville, 284 

Declaration of Independence, r61e of 
Benjamin Harrison, "the Signer/' in 
framing of, 14 

Defrees, John, Superintendent of Pub- 
lic Printing in Washington, alerts 
Harrison to impending promotion to 
"lone star," 287, n.2; informs 
Harrison that Senate has confirmed 
his brigadiership, 289; explains de- 
layed delivery of commission due to 
Lincoln's death, 303, n.i5; holds two 
dinner parties in Harrison's honor 
after the Grand Review, 309-10 

Delaware Indians, original settlers in 
Indianapolis area, 91 

Delta Kappa Epsilon, rival of Har- 
rison's fraternity at Miami U., 58, 

Democratic National Convention of 
1860, in Charleston (S.C.), disrupted 
by walkout of Southern delegates, 
146; at Baltimore and Richmond, 
Southern bolters nominate a Breck- 
inridge-Lane ticket, 146; see also 
National Constitutional Union party 

Democrats, party leaders in Indiana 
become apprehensive over tariff, 
banking, slavery, and immigration 

issues, 115; opposition to prohibi- 
tion earns them title of whiskey- 
drinkers, 136; ranks hopelessly split 
as result of the Buchanan-Douglas 
feud, 145; bolt by Southern dele- 
gates in 1860 rings death knell of 
the party, 146; sense defeat at end 
of 1860 Indiana state campaign, 153; 
score 1862 victory in Indiana, 211; 
win 7 out of 11 congressman, 213; 
"Northern peace party" (q*v.) 
branch of, benefits from Gen. John- 
ston's delaying tactics, 259; in 1864 
charge Republicans with dictator- 
ship and military despotism, 271; 
assail Harrison's 1864 bid for Re- 
portership re-election by claiming 
his own father would not vote for 
him, 273 

De Motte, Mark L., unsuccessfully con- 
tests nomination for office of Su- 
preme Court Reporter with Har- 
rison, 138-39, n.23 

Denison Hotel (Indianapolis), 92 

Denny, Harmar, Harrison's College 
classmate, becomes Jesuit priest, 59, 
njji; speaks on "Poetry of Religion" 
at 1852 commencement, 64 

Detroit (Mich.), host city for 1888 
Michigan Club banquet, hears Har- 
rison speak on "Washington, the 
Republican," 7 

Devin, Sarah ("Sallie") Harrison, be- 
lieves brother Ben is delegate to 
1860 Republican National Conven- 
tion, 145; see also Harrison, Sarah 
Lucretia ("Sallie") 

Dibble, Work and Moore, New York 
business house, retains firm of Wal- 
lace and Harrison, 105 

Dickens, Charles, novels of, lighten 
Harrison's drudgery at camp, 226 

Disruption of American Democracy, by 
Roy P. Nichols, cited, 115 

District of Columbia, described during 
1889 Centennial Inauguration, 3-5, 
National Guard of, prominent dur- 
ing inaugural festivities, 6 

"Dixie," played by 7oth Ind/s band as 
regiment reaches the Kentucky-Ten- 
nessee line, 221 

Dodd, William E., xxi 

Dodge, Grenville M. f Union general, 
r61e of his corps in Atlanta cam- 
paign, 247, n.4; joins Harrison in 
victory celebration at Wilmington 
(N.C.), 297-98 


Dortch, Captain, Confederate leader, 
and the Russellville (Ky.) episode, 

Douglas, Stephen A., introduces Kan- 
sas-Nebraska Bill in the Senate in 
January, 1854, 118; slavery clause of, 
called "bait for Southern waters" by 
Congressman J. S. Harrison, 118; 
claims dissolution of Whig party 
would mean "civil war, servile war, 
and disunion," 119; alleged by J. S. 
Harrison to have "spiked the guns 
of the Republicans," 130, 132; con- 
troversy of, with President Buchanan 
splits party, 145; nominated for 
presidency by Northern Democrats, 

Drake's Creek (Tenn.), headquarters 
for 7oth Ind. while guarding rail- 
road tracks between Gallatin and 
Nashville, 223 

Dred Scott decision, neglected issue 
during 1860 state canvass in Indiana, 

Duke, Basil W., Confederate general, 
leaves account of Morgan's cavalry 
raids, 191, 11.13 

Dumont, Ebenezer, Union general, 223; 
recruits volunteers for 70 th Ind., 
181; in November, 1862, becomes a 
divisional commander, 218; delivers 
a Hoosier speech to a Hoosier regi- 
ment, 221 

Dunning, William A., recommends 
P. L. Hayworth as Harrison biog- 
rapher, xx 

Dustin, Daniel, Union colonel, 229, 
n.84, 230 

Early, Jubal, Confederate general, de- 
sively defeated by Gen. Philip Sheri- 
dan (q.v.), 266 

East Chicago (Ind.), 89 

Eaton, Betsey ("Betsy," "Bessie," 
"Betty") Harrison, Benjamin's mar- 
ried half sister, corresponds with 
lovesick collegian, 50-51; boards 
brother Ben during his law studies, 
69; sale of Cincinnati house by, 
hastens Ben's marriage plans, 75; see 
also Harrison, Betsey Short 

Eaton, Dr. George S., marries Ben's 
half sister, Betsey Short Harrison 
(q.v.), 24, n.2i; welcomes Ben to 
family circle, 69; sells Cincinnati 


home in 1853, 751 moves family to 
the country, 78 

Eaton, Harry, son of Betsey Harrison 
and George Eaton, nephew of Ben, 
increases Harrison family circle to 
six, 164 

Edmundson, Henry A., U.S. congress- 
man, verbally belabors Campbell of 
Ohio (q.v.), in Nebraska Bill debate, 

Eighth Kentucky Cavalry, under Har- 
rison's command, proves successful 
in Russellville (Ky.) encounter, 200- 

Eighty-Fifth Indiana Regiment, Har- 
rison's 1864 r61e as recruiting agent 
for, 277 

Eleventh Army Corps, under Gen. 
O. O. Howard's command prior to 
consolidation with 2oth Army Corps, 

Eleventh Indiana Volunteer Regiment, 
commanded by Col. Lew Wallace, 
successfully raids Romney (Va.), 
168; credited with military achieve- 
ment, 168, n.26 

Elliott, Charles, Greek scholar and 
teacher at Miami U., 49; signs Har- 
rison's college diploma, 65, n-7o 

Ellis, Vespasian, editor of American 
Auburn, attacks Catholicism of Fr- 
mont (q.v.), 124, n.66 

Emancipation Proclamation, defended 
by Harrison, 275 

England, denounced by collegian Har- 
rison as land "of poor laws and 
paupers," 63-65; see also "The Poor 
of England" 

Evansville (Ind.), policed by nth Indi- 
ana Volunteers at outset of Civil War, 

Everett, Edward, U.S. senator, 1860 vice- 
presidential nominee with Bell on 
Constitution Union ticket, 146 

Farmers' College, 40-42, 47, 49, 53; 
formerly Gary's Academy (q*v.), small 
institution outside of Cincinnati, 29- 
32; enjoys new disciplinary code 
under Dr. Bishop, 34; Harrison's 
academic record at, 46 

Farragut, David G., Union admiral, di- 
rects bombardment of New Orleans, 
176; wins Battle of Mobile Bay, 266 

Fayetteville (N.C.), 294 


Fillmore, Millard, President, 1856 
candidacy of, on American party 
ticket endorsed by J. S. Harrison, 124; 
supporters of, hold balance of power, 

Fishback, William P. ("Pink"), writes 
biographical account of Harrison at 
Miami U., 53, n.26; describes Har- 
rison's collegiate oratorical and de- 
bating prowess, 56; as polished 
speaker and quick-witted attorney, 
forms law partnership with Harrison, 
171; cited on Harrison's facility in ex- 
temporaneous speech, 171; notes that 
Ben carried responsibility heavily, 
174; cares for Harrison's family and 
law practice during war, 185; presents 
Col. Harrison with sword as 7oth Ind. 
breaks camp, 186; criticizes Lincoln 
administration, 196-97; cited on 
double ouster in Reportership case, 
209, n.7o; castigates stay-at-homes as 
traitors, 211; warns that State Su- 
preme Court would remove Harrison 
as Reporter, 213; voices pleasure of 
Indianapolis over Harrison's promo- 
tion, 289-90 

Fitzpatrick, J. C., Assistant Chief, Divi- 
sion of Manuscripts, Library of 
Congress, xxi 

Flambeau Club (Dodge City, Kans.), 
sends band to Harrison's inaugura- 
tion, 7 

Foraker, Joseph B., Union captain, 
commands Ohio troops at Centen- 
nial Inauguration, 7 

Ford, H. A., Union captain, credits Har- 
rison with preventing a Confederate 
breakthrough at Peach Tree Creek, 
261; cites Ben's masterful eulogy of 
Lincoln, 299, n.35 

Ford, Worthington C., xxi 

Forrest, Nathan B., Confederate gen- 
eral, harasses Union forces in middle 
Tennessee, 277, n^2; partially covers 
Gen. Hood's retreat from Nashville 
to the Tennessee River, 284 

Fort Donelson (Tenn.), capture of, by 
Grant serves to open the Mississippi, 

Fort Fisher (N.C.), 1865 reduction of, 
295, n.2i; storming of, called more 
wondrous than the passage of the 
Bridge of Lodi, 313 

Fort Henry (Tenn.), capture of, by 
Grant serves to open the Mississippi, 
176; fall of, forces Buckner to aban- 

don fortified area around Bowling 
Green, 193 

Fort Sumter (S.C.), firing on, 161; fall 
of, 162, 164 

Fort Washington (Cincinnati), 15 

Fortieth Brigade, part of Dumont's div- 
ision, under command of Col. O. A. 
Miller (q*v.) t 221 

Foster, John W., refuses to undertake 
Harrison biography, xix 

Fourteenth Army Corps, races 2oth 
Army Corps to Richmond and Wash- 
ington, 302; marches in the Grand 
Review under command of Gen. Jeff 
Davis (q.v.), 307 

Franklin (Ky.), successful foray by 7oth 
Ind. at, 212 

Franklin (Tenn.), Battle of, eighteen 
miles south of Nashville, 280-81 

"Free soil, free speech, free labor and 
free men," Van Buren's platform in 
1848 election, 38-39 

Free Soilers, coalition party which nom- 
inated Van Buren for president in 
1848, 38 

Fremont, John Charles, 1856 presiden- 
tial campaign of, affords Harrison 
unexpected speaking opportunity in 
Indianapolis, n; actively supported 
by Harrison, 115-16; Catholicism of, 
attacked by J. S. Harrison, 124; loses 
to Buchanan by nearly a half-million 
votes, 125; credited with a "victorious 
defeat," 125-26; supported by Ken- 
tucky's Cassius Clay, 139 

Fry, S. S., Union general, divisional 
commander, slated to join Dumont in 
repairing the railroad to Nashville, 
219, n.34 

Fuller, Melville W., Chief Justice of 
Supreme Court, administers presi- 
dential oath to Harrison, 5 

Fulton, steamer carrying Gen. Harrison 
from New York to Hilton Head (S.C.), 

Gadsen (Ala.), October, 1864, meeting 
of Confederate council of war at, 277 

Gallatin, Albert, Secretary of Treasury 
under Jefferson, compared with Har- 
rison, 8 

Gallatin (Tenn.), captured by Confed- 
erate Col. John Morgan, 191; objec- 
tive of 7oth Ind. after joining Ward's 
Brigade, 218, 221 

G.A.R., well-represented at Harrison's 
inauguration, 7 



Garfield, James A., President, offers 
Senator-elect Harrison a cabinet post, 
7; as Union general canvasses North- 
ern Indiana during 1864 campaign, 

Gary (Ind.), 89 

Gazette (Cincinnati), prints extended 
report of Harrison's attack on "slave 
aristocracy," 147-48 

Geary, John W., Union general, heads 
2nd Division of 2Oth Army Corps, 
232, 11.97; r61e of his command at 
Battle of Peach Tree Creek, 260; in- 
fantry troops led by, precede "Bum- 
mer Brigade" during the Grand Re- 
view, 307 

Georgetown University (Washington, 
D.C.), 48-49. n.i2 

George Washington, First President of 
the United States, volume by John 
Marshall in W. H. Harrison's li- 
brary, 27 

Gettysburg, (Pa.), 304; battle strategy 
of Unionists at, influences Gen. John- 
ston's defensive plan at Resaca (Ga.), 
247; record of Gen. J. B. Hood at, 278 

Giddings, Joshua, R., U.S. congressman, 
censured by J. S. Harrison for in- 
temperateness toward the South, 148 

Giesy, Mrs. Harriet Root, 25, n.27; see 
also Root, Harriet 

Givens, Captain, counsels Harrison on 
Russellville plan of attack, 201 

Glasgow (Scotland), ancestral home of 
Major James Ramsey, great-great- 
grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, 18 

Goldsboro (N.C.), entered by Gen. 
Sherman after defeating Gen. John- 
ston near Bentonville (S.C.), 294, 298 

Golgotha Church (Ga.), in the vicinity 
of Kenesaw Mt, and the daring 
charge of the 7oth Ind., 255-56 

Gordon, Maj. Jonathan W., hires Har- 
rison as legal aide, 95 

Grand Review (Washington, D.C.), held 
May 23-24, 1865; Army of the Po- 
tomac marches on first day, Sherman's 
men on the second, 304-8 

Granger, Gordon, Union general, com- 
mands reserve corps guarding rail- 
road between Nashville and Chat- 
tanooga, 230-31 

Grant, Ulysses S., Union general, eulo- 
gized by Harrison, xv; directs capture 
of Forts Henry and Donelson, 176; 
appointed supreme commander of 
Union armies in March, 1864, 231; 
fathers strategy of "campaigns in 

combination," 232; supported by new 
spirit of aggressiveness in the North, 
234; sets April 30, 1864, as "D-Day" 
for thrust against Lee, 244; delays 
until May 5, 244; tactical delays of, 
censured by Harrison, 272; grows im- 
patient with Gen. Thomas' failure to 
do battle with Gen. Hood at Nash- 
ville, 282; sends Gen. John Logan 
(q.v) to replace Gen. Thomas, 282, 
11.67; shares Sherman's dream of unit- 
ing two Union armies before Rich- 
mond, 285; believes Confederacy is 
doomed once Union armies are 
joined, 288; envisions support against 
Lee in Virginia, 289; threatens Lee at 
Petersburg, 295-96; accepts Confed- 
eracy's surrender at Appomattox, 297; 
concludes "generous, simple" and 
"brief" peace terms with Lee, and ap- 
proves peace terms negotiated by 
Sherman and Johnston, 301; carnage 
of his forces while fighting Lee, 303; 
Vicksburg (Miss.), campaign com- 
pared to Napoleon's feat in crossing 
the Alps, 313 

"Great Lives Do Not Go Out. They Go 
On," Harrison's words, later used as 
his memorial inscription (University 
Park, Indianapolis), xv 

Greeley, Horace, newspaper editor, 68; 
cited on value of Cincinnati in 1850, 
68-69; welcomed in 1857 as lecturer 
in Indianapolis, 136; tags 1860 Bell- 
Everett ticket "The Old Gentlemen's 
Party," 146 

Green, William, Ohioan transplanted 
from New England, associated with 
Bellamy Storer (q.v.), 68, n.g 

Griffiths, John L., assumes responsibility 
for Harrison biography, xvii; diplo- 
matic duties forestall writing, xviii; 
death of, xviii; limitations of, de- 
scribed by Alexander, xix; reviews 
Harrison's character traits, 9, n.i2; 
lauds Harrison as conversationalist, 
36, 11.84 

Grubbs, George W., Union major with 
70th Ind., congratulates Harrison on 
promotion to brigadier generalship, 
287, nn.i, 3; believes "full honor" for 
Harrison not far distant, 288 

Gwynne, Abram, law partner of Bel- 
lamy Storer, coaches Harrison in law 
studies, 69 

Halford, Elijah W., Union colonel, 



editor, and private secretary to 
President Harrison, diary of, aids 
Harrison biographers, xxii 

Halleck, Henry W., Union general, on 
May 8, 1865, reviews Harrison's 
command and other Washington- 
bound troops at Richmond, 303 

Halstead, Murat, ringleader in Har- 
rison-Halstead crowd at Farmers' 
College (q.v.), 30; converses with 
Gen. Hooker on Harrison's ability 
and promotion to brigadier general- 
ship, 264 

Hamilton, Alexander, 6; compared with 
Harrison, 8 

Hamilton (Ohio), Oxford County seat, 
Harrison procures marriage license 
at, 82 

Hamilton County (Ohio), elects J. S. 
Harrison (q.v.) congressman on Whig 
ticket, 83 

Hamlin, Hannibal, U.S. congressman 
and senator, vice-presidential nom- 
inee with Lincoln in 1860 election, 146 

Hammond, Abram A., retiring governor 
of Indiana (1861), present as Harrison 
takes oath as Supreme Court Re- 
porter, 156 

Hammond (Ind.), 89 

Hanover College (Ind.), 46, n.i 

Hardee, W. J., Rifle and Light Infantry 
Tactics written by, becomes "second 
Bible" to Harrison, 227; as Confeder- 
ate general, joins Gen. Johnston near 
Dalton (Ga.), 235 

Harrison, Anna Symnes (Mrs. William 
Henry Harrison), grandmother of 
Benjamin Harrison, assists in build- 
ing Cleves Presbyterian Church, 28; 
dies while grandson Benjamin is with 
army in Tennessee, 312, n-42; be- 
queaths husband's Congressional 
Medal to John Scott Harrison, re- 
questing it be given to Benjamin after 
the Civil War, 312; see also Symnes, 

Harrison, Anna Symnes, younger sister 
of Benjamin, 24; affirms financial dis- 
tress of her father, 42; chides Ben and 
Irwin for cigar smoking, 44; learns 
Ben's routine as law student, 70; 
nobility and generosity of, 102, n.47; 
attends school away from home, 128; 
comes to Indianapolis in 1860 to con- 
gratulate Ben on his political victory, 


Harrison, Archibald Irwin, first-born of 
the John Scott Harrisons, older 

brother of Benjamin, 19, n.54, 25; at- 
tends Farmers' College (q.v.), 22, 29; 
missed by family, 41-42; attacked by 
dysentery, 45; remains in very in- 
different health, 74; rests at "The 
Point" farm, 75, 102; hauls wheat to 
Lawrenceburg, 102, n-47; accepts army 
commission from President Pierce 
(q.v.), 128; receives captain's commis- 
sion, 128, 11.82; indicts Republicanism 
while serving in Kansas Territory 
129; inquires about new arrivals at 
Harrison home in Indianapolis, 133; 
serves with Lew Wallace (q.v.) and 
nth Ind. Vol. Reg. as lieutenant, 168; 
promoted to captain, 169, 246; write: 
to Ben in South Carolina, detailing 
news of Indianapolis, 296-97 

Harrison, Benjamin, as English emi 
grant in 1632, settles in Virginia, 12- 
13, nn.25, 26 

Harrison, Benjamin, "the Signer/ 
writes important chapter in earl] 
American history, 13-14; death of, ir 
1791 leaves family fortunes at lov 
ebb, 14 

Harrison, Benjamin, President, statu* 
of, in Indianapolis, xv; his epitaph 
xv; inaugurated, March 4, 1889, a 
23d and Centennial President of th< 
United States, 3-7; family name cele 
brated in American history, 4-5; re 
views inaugural parade with Vice 
President Morton, 6-7; physical char 
acteristics of, 7, 22; background a 
lawyer, soldier, and legislator, 8 
independence as U.S. senator recalled 
9; in 1889 faces complex problems a 
home and abroad, 9-10; roots of char 
acter cultivated amid pioneer sur 
roundings, 10-11; attitude on distin 
guished ancestry (". . . every mai 
should stand on his own merits"), 1 1 
will to fight seen in the 1892 renomi 
nation, 12; family ties with colonia 
Virginia, 13-14; knew well the r61 
of his great-grandfather, "the Signer, 
who served as Virginia's governo 
(1781-1784) and Speaker of the Hous 
of Burgesses (1785), 14; inherits leg 
acy of his grandfather, William Henr 
Harrison (q.v.), "Child of the Revc 
lution," who embraced a militar 
and political career and died a pres 
dent, 14-16; serious-mindedness c 
his father, John Scott Harrison (q.v. 
sets tone at "The Point" (q.v.), th 
family farm at North Bend, Ohio, 16 


18; inherits strong religious convic- 
tions from his mother, Elizabeth Ir- 
win Harrison (q-v.), 18; is second- 
born in family of nine, first wail 
heard on August 20, 1833, 1 9'* wit- 
nesses pioneer parade along the Ohio, 
20-21; grows chubby, blond, and 
square-shouldered, engaging in 
schoolboy sports, 22-23; his daily 
routine described by Butterworth, 23; 
begins education under a tutor in 
primitive surroundings, 25; regarded 
as "brightest of the family," 25; his 
learning facilitated by grandparents 
and their library, 26-27; steals apples 
during 1840 campaign, 27; influenced 
by Sabbath customs at North Bend, 
28; learns importance of prayer from 
his mother, 29; attends Farmers' Col- 
lege, 29-30; consorts with fellow 
freshmen Halstead, Nixon, and Mc- 
Nutt, 30-31; develops severe classical 
style of writing and speaking, 33; 
recalls value of early schooling, 34- 
35; becomes close student of social 
philosophy, 36-38; writes essay on 
"The Qualifications Necessary to 
Form A Good Historian," 38; assails 
Van Buren's candidacy in 1848, 39; 
prefers history to novel reading, 39- 
40; at 16, writes essay on patriotism, 
40-41; delivers practice sermon on 
need to contemplate "heavenly 
things," 41; anticipates joy of Christ- 
mas at home, 42-43; guilty of college 
misdemeanors, 43-44; deeply affected 
by mother's death in 1850, 45; family 
finances in 1850 determine his matric- 
ulation at Miami University, "Yale 
of the West," 46-47; at Miami U. 
(Oxford, O.), renews acquaintance 
with Dr. J. W. Scott and "charming" 
daughter Carrie, 47-48; enrolls as 
Miami U. junior in 1850, 48; finds 
discipline strict and studies demand- 
ing, 49; forms fast friendship with 
John Anderson (#.#.), 50, 53; ex- 
changes letters with family at "The 
Point," 50-51; influenced by paternal 
advice that "no man can serve two 
masters," 51-52; with David Swing 
and Milton Saylor, is regarded as one 
of "three brightest men of the col- 
lege," 52; tries boarding house, then 
college dormitory, 53; chided by 
family for cigar smoking, 53-54; with 
Carrie Scott, re-experiences the stir- 
rings of love, 54-55; as "the pious 


moonlight dude" courts Carrie, 55; 
joins Union Literary Society to aid his 
study, public speaking, and debating, 
55-5 6 ; favors a temperance move- 
ment, 57; elected president of Union 
Literary Society and makes plea for 
better "extemporaneous speaking," 
57-58; affiliates with Phi Delta Theta, 
and serves as its secretary in senior 
year, 58; joins Presbyterian Church, 
59-60; promises to enter the ministry, 
61; grows lovesick over Carrie Scott, 
but maintains academic standing, 60- 
61; weighs respective advantages ot 
law, ministry, or physics careers, 61- 
62; settles on legal profession, offer- 
ing a defense for lawyers, 62-63; ob- 
tains A.B. degree, is third commence- 
ment day speaker with topic "The 
Poor of England," 63-64; leaves 
college well-equipped and praised, 
65; discusses future with his father, 
66; reads law in Cincinnati offices of 
Storer and Gwynne, 67-68; boards in 
home of half sister, Betsey Eaton 
(q.v.), 69; consistent application to 
study pleases Bellamy Storer, 69; cau- 
tioned against overwork by family and 
friends, 70-71; joins Library Associ- 
ation and continues Phi Delta Theta 
activities, 71; separated from Carrie 
Scott, becomes impatient suitor, 72; 
contemplates early marriage as bene- 
fit to Carrie and solace to himself, 
73; while hunting, mulls over twin 
problems of love and law, 73-74; de- 
cides on marriage within six months, 
wins father's blessing before visiting 
Carrie's relatives in the east, 74; pro- 
posed nuptials meet strong objections 
from old roommate with argument: 
"Hard cash buys! Where will it come 
from?" 75-76; internal conflict in- 
creases, 77-79; on 2oth birthday 
makes decision to marry Carrie irre- 
vocable, 79-80; shows himself stoic 
in pre-nuptial shopping spree by 
selecting all-black outfit, 81; envisions 
law practice in Chicago after mar- 
riage, 81-82; weds Carrie on August 
20, 1853, with bride's father, Dr. J. 
W. Scott (q.v.), officiating, 82; after 
legal studies, gains admission to the 
Ohio bar, 83-84; weighs advantages 
of migrating to Chicago or staying in 
Cincinnati, 84-85; receives warm wel- 
come on visit to Indianapolis, 85; 
decides to make his way in the Hoos- 


ier capital, 86-87; with wife Carrie, 
leaves "The Point" for Indianapolis, 
88-89; impressed by "plain and 
wholesome kind of life" in Indian- 
apolis, 91; begins firm and long 
friendship with Dr. and Mrs. Kit- 
chen, 92; discouraged by slow and 
unremunerative law practice, 93-94; 
loneliness and idleness stalk his path, 
94-95; pockets first fee, a $5 gold 
piece, 95; wins invitation to assist 
prosecuting attorney of Marion Co., 
96-97; gains verdict in "Point Look- 
out" case, 96-97; success as assistant 
City Attorney is acknowledged by 
Gov. Wright, 97; names first child 
after his brother-in-law, Russell F. 
Lord, 98; pens first "My dear wife" 
letter, 99-100; efficiency with domestic 
chores, 100-101; hangs out shingle in 
State Bank Bldg., 101; with only two 
dollars in pocket, writes second "My 
dear wife" letter, 102; experiences 
effects of 1854 depression, 103-4; 
forms partnership with William Wal- 
lace, 104-5; enjoys quick success with 
varied practice, including divorce 
cases, 106-7; in l8 55 becomes notary 
public and Commissioner for the 
Court of Claims, 108; resists pressure 
to move practice from Indianapolis, 
109; shares in local enthusiasm for 
politics and religion, 110-11; be- 
comes associated with First Presby- 
terian Church, being elected deacon, 
then elder, 112-13; with wife assumes 
responsibility of teaching Sunday 
School, 113; enjoys church socials, 
especially oyster suppers, 114; joins 
new Republican party and campaigns 
for Fremont, 115; reproached by 
family for political beliefs, 116; 
undergoes political apprenticeship 
with father in Congress, 116-17; 
warned that "none but knaves should 
ever enter the political arena," 117; 
gets firsthand report on Douglas' 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill 118-20; con- 
centrates on law for livelihood, 121; 
enters politics and delivers first stump 
speech at Acton, 122; straddles slav- 
ery question but finally adopts Re- 
publican anti-slavery view, 122-23; 
breaks politically with his father, 
123-24; despite embarrassment, de- 
dares himself "Fremont all over and 
all the time," 125; unshaken by the 
"Pathfinder's" defeat, heeds party's 

call and runs for City Attorney of- 
fice, 126; achieves easy victory and 
nourishes political ambitions, 128; 
effects partial reconciliation with 
family, 128-29; makes 1858 New 
Year's resolution to stop use of tobac- 
co "in every form," 129; is considered 
as candidate for state legislature, 130- 
31; refuses race to accept post as Sec- 
retary of Republican State Central 
Committee, 131-32; at 25, makes 
valuable political contacts and learns 
organizational procedure, 133; an- 
nounces birth of second-born, Mary 
("Mamie"), 133; renews commission 
as notary public for four years, 134; 
sees Indianapolis dividing into op- 
posing camps over slavery issue, 135- 
36; quits as party secretary and seeks 
office of Supreme Court Reporter, 
136-37; wins nomination after vig- 
orous fight, 138-39; receives father's 
congratulations, 139; chided for com- 
plimenting Cassius Clay, an "ultra 
anti-slavery" man, 139; displeased by 
vagueness of state party platform on 
problem of slavery extension, 140; 
calls himself a disciple of Henry Clay 
and Daniel Webster, 140-41; at 
Lebanon makes first speech of 1860 
state canvass, 141-44; openly espouses 
Republicanism, 144; follows Repub- 
lican National Convention (Chicago) 
in Indianapolis press, 144-45; calls 
Buchanan-Douglas controversy the 
death knell of Democratic party, 145- 
46; vigorously attacks John Bell, 147; 
at Lawrenceburg assails "slave 
oligarchy and slave aristocracy," 147; 
is severely rebuked by father, John 
Scott Harrison, 147-48; reforms stump 
tactics, avoiding "blackguardism," 
148-49; canvasses "pocket district," 
chalking up stump victories over 
Turpie and Hendricks, 150-52; first 
major Hoosier campaign evokes 
memories of grandfather, 152-53; in 
October wins Reportership with 10,- 
ooo majority, 153; helps Lincoln carry 
Indiana by 25,000 votes, 154; sworn 
in as Supreme Court Reporter (Jan., 
1861), 156; stands with party on seces- 
sion issue, 157; remains optimistic 
over Lincoln despite "Sphinx from 
Springfield" tag, 158-59; views of, on 
Lincoln, 159; joins in Indianapolis 
welcome to President-elect at Bates 
House, 160; records his impressions of 

Lincoln, 160-61; while editing Su- 
preme Court Reports, hears news of 
firing on Fort Sumter, 161; Sumter's 
fall marks his difficult hour, 162; de- 
cision to remain at Indianapolis taxes 
his discretionary powers, 163; in 
April, 1861, conflict of patriotic and 
domestic duties resolved in favor of 
home and family, 164-65; borrows 
money from Albert G. Porter, 165; 
stay-at-home decision confirmed by 
Indiana's over-subscription to Lin- 
coln's first call for volunteers, 165; 
overwork brings rebuke from father, 
understanding silence from wife, 166; 
finds Reporter's r61e is dual: as civil 
servant and private businessman, 166- 
67; confesses shortcomings in family 
life, 167; grieved by loss of third child 
at birth, 167-68; cheered by reports 
of success of nth Indiana Reg. at 
Romney (Va.), 168; derives personal 
satisfaction from military record of 
relatives, 168-69; counsels brother-in- 
law Henry Scott, 169-70; welcomes 
brother-in-law, broken in health, to 
family circle and to law office, 170- 
71; dissolves six-year law partnership 
with William Wallace (q.v.), 171; 
forms new firm, Harrison and Fish- 
back, 171; legal acumen of, praised by 
Fishback and Wallace, 172; gains 
status within Republican party, 172; 
ascendancy of law firm, 173; publishes 
and sells Vols. 15, 16 of Indiana Re- 
ports, 173; buys house and property 
from Albert G. Porter, 173-74; notes 
war going poorly for the Union, 174- 
75; learns early Union successes dissi- 
pated by Gen. McGlellan's inactivity, 
176-77; with Wallace pays political 
visit to Gov. Morton, 178; offer to 
raise regiment in Indianapolis ac- 
cepted, 179-80; is commissioned sec- 
ond lieutenant, 180; signs Wallace as 
first recruit, 180; breaks news to Car- 
rie, 180-81; promoted to captaincy 
after two weeks of active recruitment, 
181-84; secures deputy Reporter and 
accepts full colonelcy of new yoth 
Ind., 185; is presented with a sword 
and flags, 185-87; leads troops to 
Kentucky front, 187-88; receives 
orders to proceed to Louisville, then 
to Bowling Green (Ky.), 189; amazed 
by "secesh" mentality, 190; becomes 
aware of Confederate design on 
northern cities, 191-92; spikes false 

INDEX 349 

report of harm to his command, 192; 
concentrates on tactics and drill, 193- 
94; acquires reputation as strict dis- 
ciplinarian, 194-95; punishes misuse 
of whiskey by rough handling and 
guardhouse, 195-96; welcomes wife's 
first visit to camp, 196; grows gloomy 
over "news from the Potomac/* 195- 
97; envisions a quick Union victory 
under McClellan and Providence, 
197-98; despairs of "little Mac," 198; 
described as homesick colonel of a 
homesick regiment, 199; directs ma- 
neuver against Confederates at Rus- 
sellville (q.v.) after reconnaissance, 
gains first triumph, 200-202; out- 
witted by smooth-talking Southern 
lady, 202-7; fails to capture the 
marauding Morgan, 207-8; ousted 
from Supreme Court Reporter post, 
208-9; writes philosophical letter to 
wife, 209; learns maturity and pa- 
tience through disappointment, 210; 
charges Hoosier Democrats with 
"fanning the fire in the rear," 210- 
11; runs afoul of Southern sympa- 
thizers in Indianapolis, 212; ouster 
from Reportership turns chagrin into 
anger, 213; stifles Copperhead snip- 
ing within his regiment, 214; his 
presidency predicted by Gen. E, A. 
Paine, 214; tries to remedy regiment's 
inactivity, 215; states readiness to 
meet enemies at home and in the 
South "with bloody hands and hos- 
pitable graves," 215; soldierly zeal 
defended by Capt. Henry Scott (q.v.), 
216; pleased by appointment of Gen. 
Rosecrans to command Army of the 
Cumberland, 217; visited second time 
by Carrie, 217; marches regiment to 
Scottsville (Ky.), then to Gallatin 
(Tenn.), 218; self-sacrifice of, on the 
march boosts morale of yoth Ind., 
219; disclaims any ambition for high 
command, 220; victim of ptomaine 
poisoning, 220; styles Indianapolis 
opponents "miserable egotistic fools," 
220; leads regiment across Kentucky- 
Tennessee line, 222; describes first 
Thanksgiving Day in camp, 222; ad- 
vocates "fight and go home" policy, 
222-23; accuses Gen. Rosecrans of 
"sheerest madness" for detailing 70th 
Ind. to guard duty, 223; on Christ- 
mas writes to Came and his chil- 
dren, 224; misses engagement at 
Stone River (Tenn.), 224; encour- 



aged by Bragg's evacuation of Mur- 
freesboro (Tenn.), 225; reads novels 
in camp, 226; begins systematic study 
of tactics and refuses a provost mar- 
shalship, 226-28; temporarily shuns 
social life of camp, 229; welcomes 
two visits from Carrie in 1863, 230; 
directs "scavenger" duty under Gen. 
Granger's reserve corps, 231; as- 
sumes temporary command of bri- 
gade, 231; joins "Fighting Joe" 
Hooker in new 20th Army Corps, 
232; leads his brigade to Lookout 
Valley, 233; maneuvers troops 
through mountainous terrain of 
Georgia, 235; impresses Eastern sol- 
diers, 236; attacks Gen. Ward for 
tactical blunders and heavy drinking, 
236-38; confides complaints to Car- 
rie, 237-39; recalls "region of dead 
mules" (q.v.) en route to Wauhatchie 
(Tenn.), 238; praised by Gen. O. O. 
Howard near Lookout Mountain, 
238-39; works "like a beaver," feel- 
ing as if "I had a character to make," 
239; lauds Gen. Howard as "a very 
decided Christian and a total ab- 
stinence man," 240; depressed by 
Hooker's succeeding Howard, 241; 
unfavorably impressed by "Fighting 
Joe" Hooker, 241; comes to like 
Hooker, 242; pleads guilty to over- 
ambition, 242; explains Union strat- 
egy to his wife, 243; while moving 
troops across Chickamauga battle- 
ground towards Buzzard's Roost 
(Ga.), captures "prisoners, arms, 
horses," 244; leads regiment through 
Snake Creek Gap to face enemy at 
Resaca (Ga.), 244-45; writes battle- 
eve letter to Carrie, 244-45; leads 
assault on rebel battery guarding 
Resaca approach, 248; reports enemy 
sharpshooters "most provokingly ac- 
curate," 248; curses Ward's leader- 
ship as "stupid and maudlin/' 249; 
rallies troops and successfully storms 
enemy fort, 249-50; replaces wounded 
Gen. Ward as brigade commander, 
251-52; praises heroic troops and 
grieves for the slain, 252; lauded by 
Gens. Hooker and Sherman, 252-53; 
christened "Little Ben" by his men, 
253; receives testimonials from home 
front, 253; in one month surpasses 
battle records of two Presidents 
(William Henry Harrison, Andrew 

Jackson), 254; seizes chance to be- 
come a fighting soldier rather than 
a textbook colonel, 254; notches 
twin triumphs at New Hope Church 
and Golgotha Church, 254-55; as- 
sumes role of surgeon for wounded, 
255-56; moves brigade from Mari- 
etta to within ten miles of Atlanta, 
256-57; notes ski11 of J oe Johnston, 
257-58; defends Sherman against 
critics, 258; brandishes cold steel in 
victory at Peach Tree Creek, 258-62; 
hears Hooker's promise: "Harrison, 
by God, I'll make you a Brigadier 
for this fight," 262; on 3151 birthday, 
writes letter revealing homesickness, 
263-64; disassociates himself from 
Caesar and Napoleon, 264; on Sep- 
tember 2, 1864, writes Carrie that 
"Atlanta is ours," 264-65; takes fur- 
lough for first visit to Indianapolis, 
265; conditionally accepts nomina- 
tion for State Supreme Court Re- 
porter, 267-68; en route to Indian- 
apolis, emerges a "shooting hero" 
aboard ship on the Ohio River, 268- 
69; finds himself a stranger amid 
"new and eloquent buildings" in In- 
dianapolis, 269-70; stumps state for 
Reportership and re-election of Lin- 
coln, 270-73; mixes recruiting with 
politics, 272; on the stump fights 
fire with fire, 273; regains Report- 
ership by 20,000 votes, 274; assails 
Copperhead espousal of state sover- 
eignty as a "dangerous heresy," 274- 
75; defends Lincoln's progress as 
"the progress of the people," 275; 
outlines benefits of Emancipation 
Proclamation, 275-76; supports Lin- 
coln's re-election by attacking Mc- 
Clellan, 276; is eager to resume Re- 
portership duties, 277; returns to 
active duty, 277-78; sees brigadier's 
star on the horizon, 278; tries to re- 
join his command at Atlanta, 279; 
sidetracked at Dalton (Ga.) and 
ordered to Chattanooga (Tenn.) to 
command brigade under Gen. 
Charles Cruft, 279; marches to Nash- 
ville to re-enforce Gen. Thomas, 
280; speculates on promotion, 281; 
erects and fortifies a breastwork 
along Gen. Thomas' front line, 282; 
penetrates Confederate battery at 
Nashville, 283; futilely pursues re- 
treating foe, 284-85; after brief fur- 


35 1 

lough, ordered to rejoin Gen. Sher- 
man at Savannah, 285; commended 
as "excellent officer" by Gen. Cruft, 
285-86; earns hometown plaudits 
and assurance of brigadier's star, 
287; ends furlough with family va- 
cation in the east, 288; is victim of 
scarlet fever at Honesdale (Pa.), 289; 
promoted to brigadier general while 
convalescing, 289; accepts congratu- 
lations from father and Hoosier 
friends, 290; sails for Hilton Head 
(S.C.) to rejoin Sherman's command, 
290; superintends oyster expedition 
near Blair's Landing (S.C.), 290-91; 
joins Gen. Prince's staff at Camp 
Sherman, 291; detained in routine 
administration and troop training, 
292-93; failure to receive wife's let- 
ters increases despondency, 293; re- 
solves to mend ways in postwar fam- 
ily life, 294; loathes confinement in 
South Carolina swamps, 295; prefers 
"conquering columns" and "fear of 
the Lord" to peace negotiations, 
295-96; boards Champion for Wil- 
mington (N.C.), 296-97; upon dock- 
ing learns of Richmond's fall and 
Lee's surrender, 297; joins Gens. 
Hawley and Dodge in victory cele- 
bration, 297-98; rejoins old com- 
mand, 298; stunned by Lincoln's as- 
sassination, and delivers eulogy at 
camp memorial services, 298-99; cor- 
dially welcomed at Raleigh (N.C.), 
300; enjoys wife's letters, 300; during 
peace negotiations guards against a 
Southern troop withdrawal, 301; 
makes hard nine-day march from 
Raleigh to Richmond, 301-2; read- 
ies weary troops for review by Gen. 
Halleck (g.v.), 303; first sees his 
brigadier general's commission at 
Richmond, 303; shocked by sight of 
death-strewn battlefields near Spot- 
sylvania and Chancellors ville, 303-4; 
arrives at Alexandria (Va.) and pre- 
pares for "the grandest military 
parade this country will ever see," 
304; at the Grand Review notes: 
"We took the shine off the Army of 
the Potomac and in marching alto- 
gether excelled them," 306; in final 
brigade report attributes Union vic- 
tory to the versatility of Yankee 
character, 306-7; during review, 
keeps one eye on the "Bummers" 

(q.v.), the other on the crowd, 308; 
hailed by name and church about 
twenty times during the review, 308; 
manifests impatience at routine de- 
lay in mustering-out procedure, 308- 
9; shuns both Washington social life 
and the trial of Lincoln's conspira- 
tors, 309-10; plans on reaching home 
to make himself "a spiritual model 
of a proper husband and family 
man," 310; accepts three dinner in- 
vitations, 310-11; pockets official dis- 
charge papers on June 8, 1865, 311; 
rolls into Indianapolis after extended 
train and boat travel, 312; welcomed 
by family, press, and Gov. Morton, 
313; pays tribute to Hoosiers buried 
in Southern soil, 314; his references 
to Resaca received with solemn si- 
lence, 315; predicts that men of the 
7oth Ind. and other veterans will 
make themselves felt in politics and 
business, 315; chosen Fourth-of-July 
orator, 315; alone with Carrie and 
the future, 315-17 

Harrison, Betsey ("Betsy," Bessie," 
"Betty") Short, half sister of Benja- 
min, 18, n.5O, 24; marries Dr. George 
S. Eaton, 24, n.2i, 25; discovers 
brothers smoking long cigars, 44; 
see also Eaton, Betsey Harrison 

Harrison, Caroline ("Carrie") Scott, 
wife of Benjamin, diary discovered, 
xxiii; prepares for move to Indian- 
apolis, 87; notes initial hospitality 
of Hoosier neighbors, 92; returns to 
Oxford during first pregnancy, 93- 
94; son born to, ten days before 
Ben's 2ist birthday, 98; absence from 
home evokes touching letter from 
husband, 99-100; regrets Ben's pre- 
occupation with work, 108; displays 
charm and leadership in church af- 
fairs, 113; prefers social gatherings 
to newspaper reading, 114; hus- 
band's provision for, 121; contrib- 
utes to reconciliation between John 
Scott Harrison and Ben, 128; on 
April 3, 1858, gives birth to second 
child, Mary ("Mamie"), 133; in ad- 
vanced pregnancy as Civil War be- 
gins, 164; understands husband's 
tendency to overwork, 165; com- 
pared to Mary Owens, Lincoln's pa- 
tient wife, 166; third child dies at 
birth, 167; opposes enlistment of 
brother, Henry Scott, 169; bravely 


cepts Ben's decision to volunteer, 
10-81; spends restless nights as hus- 
ind nears front, 187; receives Ben's 
tters from camps at Louisville and 
jwling Green (Ky.), 189-95; visits 
;n at Bowling Green, 196; antici- 
ites quick Union victory, 197-98; 
ads Ben's battle-eve missive, 200; 
addened by victory at Russellville 
.y.), 202, 207; angered by Ben's 
ss of Reportership, 213; pays sec- 
id visit to Ben at Bowling Green 
k y.) camp, 217; enjoys letters from 
e Tennessee front, 222-25; learns 

impending Atlanta campaign, 
2-43; cherishes Ben's battle-eve 
tter from Resaca (May 14, 1864), 
5-46; is seriously ill, 263; spirits 
'ted by Ben's letter written on his 
st birthday, 263-64; considers the 
nion recruiting problem, 272-73; 

January, 1865, takes "second 
meymoon" with Ben and children, 
18; her letters fail to reach Ben in 
>uth Carolina, 293; learns his plan 
r happier home life, 294; pre- 
rves rosebud sent by Ben from 
>uth Carolina, 296; letters from, 
ach Ben at Raleigh, 300; priority 

Ben's affection for, noted, 312; 
kes children to depot to welcome 
ieir father, 313; thrilled by Ben's 
Dmecoming address, 314; carries 
ueprint of future happiness in 
>th heart and purse, 315-17; see 
so Scott, Caroline ("Carrie") 
rison, Carter Bassett, younger 
other of Benjamin, 24; desires fire- 
arks for Christmas present, 43, 
112; leaves home for school, 128; 
inefitted by Ben's gifts and loans, 
14; attack of scarlet fever recalled, 
n>, n.9 

rison, Elizabeth Irwin (Mrs. John 
ott Harrison), Benjamin's mother, 
;; writes to Ben on his first absence 
om home, 29; grieved by death of 
mnger son, Findlay, 42, n.m; ex- 
erts Ben and Carter to lead re- 
'onsible lives, 43; untimely death 
, in 1850, 22, 44; maternal ex- 
station of, against cigar smoking 
called, 54; see also Irwin, Elizabeth 
rison, James Findlay, brother of 
snjamin, dies in infancy, 24, n.22, 
:, n.ui 
rison. lame** Trwin. vnnnow hrnth- 

er of Benjamin, dies in infancy, 24, 

Harrison, John Scott, father of Benja- 
min and son of William Henry 
Harrison, birth, character, and ca- 
reer of, 16-18; draws livelihood from 
loo-acre farm, "The Point" (q.v.), 
20-2 1; suffers financial embarrass- 
ments, 21-22; assumes guardianship 
of two minors, 24; employs tutors 
for his children, 25-26; plans to 
send Ben to one "of the yankee 
colleges," 26, 47; enrolls two sons in 
Farmers* College (q.v.), 29-30; bat- 
tles continual financial pressure, 42; 
outlines spiritual program for son 
at college, 43; allows Ben's matricu- 
lation at Miami U. (q.v.), 46; hard- 
hit by 1850 depression, 51; advises 
Ben on collegiate life, 51-52; de- 
sires Ben "to live off the fat of Ox- 
ford" foodwise, 53; censures Ben for 
cigar smoking, 53-54; admonishes 
son that spiritual fidelity alone "ob- 
tains the victory," 60; revered as 
Justice of the Peace of Miami Town- 
ship, 66; appointed member of 
Hamilton County Board of Control, 
67; elected as Whig to 33d Congress, 
67, 116; approves Ben's trip with 
Carrie to visit Eastern relatives, 74- 
75; accompanies under-age son to 
procure marriage license, 82, n.s8; 
notes lonesomeness in Congress, 84; 
assures son that family name is "in- 
troduction enough" to Hoosierdom, 
86; promises Ben and Carrie $500 gift 
on leaving home, 88; aids newlyweds 
financially, 94-95, 96, n.2g; styles 
grandson Russell "one of the hand- 
somest infants I ever saw," 98-99; 
secures Ben's appointment as Com- 
missioner for the Court of Claims, 
108; feels son "all too strongly tinc- 
tured with Republicanism," 116; 
censures Republicans by joining 
American party, 116; instructs son 
in art of practical politics, 116-19; 
compiles nearly-perfect attendance 
record in Congress, 117; loses fight 
to block Nebraska Bill (q.v.), but 
gains wide political recognition, 120- 
21; mentioned as presidential candi- 
date in 1856, 121; spikes own presi- 
dential boom, 121; offered third 
party gubernatorial candidacy in 

loo- Hitf*rlv rm 

"NT P 

Banks' (q.v.) election as Speaker of 
the House, 123; breaks politically 
with Ben, 123-24; regards Republi- 
can Congressional course as "extra- 
ordinary and almost revolutionary," 
124; attacks Fremont's Catholicism 
during 18156 campaign, 124; repeat- 
edly castigates Republican party, 
126; shocked by son's decision to 
run for office of City Attorney on 
Republican ticket, 127; leaves Con- 
gress and seeks political reconcilia- 
tion with Ben, 128; gratified by 
Ben's nomination for Supreme Court 
Reportership, 139; in 1860 supports 
Constitutional Union party (q.v.), 
146-47; criticizes Ben's intemperate- 
ness during 1860 canvass, 147; de- 
fends Southern friends, 148; lauds 
Ben for intellectual honesty, 149; 
congratulates Ben on 1860 victory, 
153; expresses belief in Seward's 
ability to avert civil strife, 156,; 
warns son that overwork makes a 
man "unsocial and morose," 166; 
sympathizes with Ben and Carrie 
on their baby's death, 167-68; ranks 
son politically as "strongest and 
most influential," 172; is skeptical of 
all Republicans, including Lincoln, 
175-76; voices pride in Ben's rec- 
ord at Resaca (Ga.), 253; cited by 
press as hostile to son's candidacy, 
273; overjoyed by son's promotion to 
brigadier general, 290; welcomes 
Ben's return to civilian pursuits, 312 

Harrison, John Scott, Jr., younger 
brother of Benjamin, 24-25; calls 
Ben "only Republican in the fam- 
ily," 116; attends school away from 
home, 128; lives with Ben and Car- 
rie during studies in Indianapolis, 
i6 4 

Harrison, Mary Jane Irwin ("Jennie"), 
younger sister of Benjamin, 24-25; 
judges letter-writing improper on 
the Sabbath, 28, n.44; describes pov- 
erty at home. 42; welcomes Carrie 
Scott to family circle, 60; chides 
Ben for failing "to care for his 
health," 61; reconciles her father 
and brother, 128; regards Mamie as 
"a perfect little beauty," 133; bene- 
fits by brother's financial aid, 164, 
246; attack of scarlet fever as a 
child recalled, 290, 11.9; see also 
Morris, Jennie Harrison 

INDEX 353 

Harrison, Mary L., daughter of Benja- 
min and Carrie, born April 3, 1858, 
affectionately called "Mamie," 133; 

Harrison, Mary Lord, second wife of 
Benjamin; her disappointment at 
J. L. Griffiths' death, xviii; searches 
for new Harrison biographer, xviii; 
deposits Harrison's papers in Li- 
brary of Congress, xx; appoints 
A. T. Volwiler official biographer 
of Harrison, xxi; cited as compiler 
of Harrison's addresses and writings, 
34. n-76 

Harrison, Russell B., son of Benjamin 
and Carrie, 100, 121, 164; attends 
Centennial Inauguration, 16; born 
August 12, 1854, at Oxford, Ohio, 
98; early illnesses, 102 

Harrison, Sarah Lucretia ("Sallie"), 
half sister of Benjamin, 18, 11.50, 24, 
128, 145, n-49; marries Thomas J. 
Devin, 24, n.2i; enforces strict Sun- 
day observance, 28, n4j; describes 
Christmas at "The Point," 42-43; 
reports family's delight at Ben's join- 
ing the Presbyterian Church, 59; wel- 
comes Carrie Scott into the family, 
60, n-s6 

Harrison, William Henry ("Old Tip- 
pecanoe"), grandfather of Benjamin, 
general, and hero of Tippecanoe, 
inaugurated as gth President, 4, n.2; 
1841 inaugural of, recalled, 6; suc- 
ceeds Democratic president, 11; 
called "Child of the Revolution," 
14; monument at North Bend 
(Ohio), 15-16; in 1817, awards West 
Point appointment to David Wal- 
lace (q.v.), 17; puts library at Ben's 
disposal, -26; during 1840 campaign 
protects grandson, 27; aids in the 
erection of Cleves Presbyterian 
Church, 28; mentioned, 74; blesses 
adopted daughter's marriage to 
William Sheets (q.v.) r 86; befriends 
the William Wallace (q.v.) family, 
96, n.2g; hailed as Whig party lead- 
er, 120-21; log-cabin campaign of 
1840, 142; memory invoked to deter 
Ben from expressing radical view, 
148; mentioned during Civil War 
speech, 230; military record of, over- 
shadowed by grandson, 254; see 
also "Old Tippecanoe" 

Harrison, William Henry, half brother 
of Benjamin, dies in infancy, 18, 



Harrison and Fishback, 1861 law firm, 
replaces earlier Wallace and Har- 
rison (q.v.) partnership, 171; gains 
high rating in Indianapolis, 173; 
business entrusted to Fishback alone 
during the war, 185 

Harrison and Morton Clubs, Negro 
political groups from Virginia honor 
Harrison at inaugural parade, 7 

Harryman, Samuel K., aids Gen. W. T. 
Ward in teaching tactics, 228 

Hart, Judge, John Scott Harrison's 
financial adviser, 22 

Hart, Samuel H., serves as attorney 
Harrison's Cincinnati reference, 101, 


Hartranft, John F., Union general, 
commands Pennsylvania National 
Guard at 1889 inauguration, 7 

Harvard University, 48-49, n.i2; Ben's 
proposed enrollment at, 26 

Harvey, Jonathan, political trickery of, 
scored by W. P. Fishback (q.v.), 209, 

Hawley, Joseph R., Union general, 
commander of the Wilmington 
(N.C.) district, greets Harrison, 297; 
destined for U.S. Senate, 298 

Hawley, Mrs. Joseph R., 297 

Hayworth, Paul Leland, suggested as 
Harrison biographer, xx 

"Heart of Hoosierdom," Harrison's 
name for Indianapolis, 109 

Helper, Hinton Rowan, author of 
The Impending Crisis of the South: 
How to Meet It, known and read in 
Indiana, 135 

Hendricks, Thomas A., U.S. congress- 
man and senator, accepts Indiana 
1860 Democratic gubernatorial nomi- 
nation, 137; conducts vigorous cam- 
paign, 144; encounters Harrison on 
the stump, 150-52; prowess and 
cunning of, recalled by Harrison, 
151, n.6g 

Henry, Patrick, regarded by Harrison 
as a model orator, 58 

Herald (New York), 290 

Herald and Enterprise (Russellville, 
Ky.), contains account of Union sur- 
prise attack at Russellville, 200-207 

"Hero of the Battle of Peach Tree 
Creek," title bestowed upon Har- 
rison by Capt. H. A. Ford (q.v.) t 
261, n.53 

"Higher law" doctrine, associated with 
Lincoln and Seward, 153 

Hilton Head (S.C.), Sherman's post- 
Atlanta headquarters, 288, 290, 295- 

Hoar, George Frisbee, veteran U.S. 
senator, officiates at Harrison's in- 
auguration, 5 

Holliday, John H., recalls Indianapo- 
lis reaction to firing on Fort Sumter, 
162, n.2 

Honesdale (Pa.), visited in 1853 by 
Carrie Scott, 73; scene of pre-nup- 
tial entertaining, 74; origin of false 
rumor of Ben's marriage to Carrie, 
74-75; home of Lord family, hosts 
to the Harrisons in 1865, 288; here 
Harrison succumbs to scarlet fever, 

Hood, John B., Confederate general, 
collaborates with Gen. Johnston 
(q.v.) and consolidates Southern 
forces near Dalton (Ga.), 235; suc- 
ceeds Gen. Johnston as Confederate 
commander, announcing a "fight 
Sherman now-or-never policy," 259; 
unfolds plan to knife Sherman's 
lines at Peach Tree Creek, 260; 
characterization of, by West Point 
classmates, 260, n.5i; regarded by 
Harrison as easy prey, 272; confers 
with Gen. Beauregard (q-v.) in 
effort to re-establish Confederate 
lines, 278; daredeviltry of, detailed, 
278; plans 1864 counter-offensive in 
Tennessee, 279-80; swears to avenge 
tactical humiliation, 280; sustains 
heavy losses during Battle of Frank- 
lin (Tenn.), 280; his last-ditch stand 
at Nashville, 283 

Hooker, Joseph T., Union general, 
212, n.i; commands new 2oth Army 
Corps, 232; earns sobriquet "Fight- 
ing Joe," 232, n.gG; battles foe 
"above the clouds," 239; doubts 
Gen. Howard's military abilities, 
240; appreciates Harrison's compe- 
ency, 242; in command at Tunnell 
Hill and Rocky Face Ridge (Ga.), 
245; assumes offensive in Atlanta 
campaign, 248; reports Harrison's 
Resaca charge as "very brilliant and 
successful," 252; finds New Hope 
Church (Ga.) a veritable "hell hole," 
254; commends Harrison for Peach 
Tree Creek heroism and promises 
him brigadier's star, 262; called 
"Uncle Joe" by Harrison, 264; offi- 

daily supports Harrison's promo- 
tion, 278 

House of Burgesses (Va.), service in, 
of early Harrisons, 13-14 

Howard, Oliver O., Union general, 
esteemed by Harrison, 151, n.6g- 
welcomes 7oth Ind. to nth Army 
Corps, 238-39; praised by Gen. Sher- 
man and Col. Harrison, 239; takes 
command at Wauhatchie (Tenn.), 
239-40; merges 1 1 th Army with new 
20th Army Corps under Gen. Hook- 
er, 240; r61e of, at Resaca (Ga.), 250; 
considers Hood rash and headstrong, 
260, 11.51; assists at meeting of chap- 
lains in Washington (D.C.), 310 

Hunt, Gaillard, advises Mary L. Har- 
rison on choice of biographer, xix 

"I am a dead statesman but ... a 
living and rejuvenated Republican," 
Harrison's statement in Detroit 
speech (1888) keynotes his presiden- 
tial ambitions, 7-8 

"I am for a fight and go home policy," 
Harrison's retort after six months 
in the field, 222 

Impending Crisis, Hinton Rowan 
Helper's work, widely read and cir- 
culated in Indiana, 135 

Indiana, State of, natural resources 
and expanding population of, in the 
1850*8, 89; commerce revolutionized 
by railroads in, 90; nature of pre- 
war legal practice in, 93-94; lax 
divorce laws of, 106-7; exhibits en- 
thusiasm for mid- 19th-century poli- 
tics, 114-15; displays mixed reac- 
tions to Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 117; 
regards Harrison name as emblem of 
political revolution, 121; sees en- 
thusiastic Republican surge in 1857, 
126; electoral vote of, deemed in- 
dispensable by both parties, 137; 
Republican delegation backs Lin- 
coln solidly in, 145; torrid 1860 can- 
vass hits peak in, 149-50; goes Re- 
publican by substantial majority, 
153; gives Lincoln 25,000 more votes 
than Douglas, 154; mobilizes for war, 
163; offers 12,000 volunteers, double 
its assigned quota, 165, 175; threat- 
ened by Confederate forces under 
Gen. Bragg, 177; and Gov. Morton's 
appeal for additional volunteers "or 

INDEX 355 

our country is lost," 182; witnesses 
severe skirmishes between revengeful 
Democrats and humiliated Repub- 
licans in 1862, 208-9; reacts hostilely 
to Lincoln's preliminary proclama- 
tion of emancipation, 213; press in, 
creates tension prior to Atlanta 
campaign, 243; votes strongly Re- 
publican in 1864 and contributes 
20,000 votes to Lincoln's popular 
majority of 400,000, 274-76; all 
Washington (D.C.) citizens invited 
by John Defrees to attend dinner 
party honoring Gen. Harrison, 310 
Indiana Reports, Vols. 15 and 16 of, 
compiled and published by Supreme 
Court Reporter Harrison, 173; pro- 
ceeds from Vols. 17 and 18 of, 
claimed by newly-elected Reporter 
Kerr, 213 

Indianapolis, first visited by Harrison 
in March, 1854, 85-86; mid- 1 8th- 
century rating for members of the 
bar in, 86; First Presbyterian Church 
of, 87; enjoys amazing growth be- 
tween 1847 and 1854, 89-90; de- 
scribed as city "of muddy boots and 
torn clothes," 90; praised for cor- 
diality by Madame Theresa Pulszky, 
90; first impressions of, recorded by 
Ben and Carrie Harrison, 91-92; 
early lawyers of, regarded as pro- 
fessional anglers, 93; identified as 
the "Heart of Hoosierdom," 109; 
rdle of religion and politics in, be- 
fore the Civil War, 110-11; stump 
speakers of, rival preachers in audi- 
ence appeal, 115; notes overwhelm- 
ing Democratic victory in May, 1856, 
city election, 125, n.73; elects Re- 
publican mayor and city clerk in 
late November, 1856, 125-26; in 
March, 1857, is incorporated by 
charter, 126; 1857 election a tri- 
umph for neither Republicans nor 
Democrats, 127; 1859 regarded as 
year of "unbroken progress" in, 134; 
plays host to both parties' 1860 
conventions, 137; citizens cheer 
"Abe's Boys, the Rail Maulers, and 
the Wide Awakes" during canvass, 
153; efforts of Republicans in, to 
guarantee bloodlessness of 1860 po- 
litical victory, 154-55; deems flag 
falling from the State House dome 
an ominous sign, 157; welcomes 
President-elect Lincoln en route to 



Washington, 159-61; receives report 
that Charleston batteries had fired 
on Sumter, 162; preachers of, call 
on Christians to save Union, 163; 
witnesses bitter press duel between 
Republican Journal and Democratic 
Daily Sentinel, 175; notes initial re- 
sponse to appeal for volunteers as 
slow and puzzling, 178-80; scene at 
depot in, as 7oth Ind. leaves for 
front, 188; alarmed by false rumor 
that 7oth Ind. has been badly used, 
192; press of, lauds Harrison and 
his men for initial victory in Atlanta 
campaign, 253; manifests joy at 
Sherman's capture of Atlanta and 
Sheridan's victory in the Shenan- 
doah Valley, 266; "labyrinth of new 
and eloquent buildings" in, im- 
presses Harrison during his 1864 
furlough, 269-70; Harrison's second 
departure for front from, 279; af- 
fords Harrison warm welcome after 
Nashville victory, 285-87; Harrison's 
nostalgia for, 309; welcomes veter- 
ans after the Grand Review, 311; 
cheers and entertains homecoming 
7oth Ind., 312-13; stages joint dem- 
onstration for the 22nd, 7oth, 74th, 
and 82nd Ind. Regs., 313 

Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad, 
originally known as the Lawrence- 
burg and Upper Mississippi, 89 

Indianapolis Brownsburg Railroad, re- 
tains Wallace and Harrison, 106, 

Ireland, David, Union general, com- 
mands brigade under Gen. J. W. 
Geary (q.v.) 232, n.g7 

"Irrepressible conflict," 1860 Demo- 
cratic war cry and threat, 153; doc- 
trine attributed to Seward (q.v.)> 
puzzles statesmen, 155-56 

Irwin, Archibald, father of Elizabeth 
Irwin Harrison (q.v.), 18 

Irwin, Elizabeth, marries John Scott 
Harrison, August 12, 1831, 18; see 
also Harrison, Elizabeth Irwin 

Irwin, Jane Findlay, daughter of Mary 
Ramsey Irwin (q.v.), acts as hostess 
for President William Henry Har- 
rison, 18, n.52 

Irwin, Mary Ramsey, maternal grand- 
mother of Benjamin Harrison, 18 

Ivanhoe, Scott's novel, fascinates Ben 
Harrison, 27, n.gS 

Jackson, Andrew, exponent of the 
"greatness of our Constitution," 8; 
fought fewer battles in a lifetime 
than Harrison in one month, 254 

Jameson, J. Franklin, xxi 

Jefferson, Thomas, 4; r61e of, as ex- 
ponent of "the greatness of our 
Constitution," 8 

Jeffersonville (Ind.), first stop on 7Oth 
Ind.'s trip South, where troops were 
ferried across the Ohio to Louisville, 

Jennings, Jonathan, negotiates Federal 
treaty with Delaware and Miami 
Indians, 91, n.i6 

John Smiat and Co., important Louis- 
ville (Ky.) client of Wallace and 
Harrison, 106, n.63 

Johnson, Emsley W., Sr., Indianapolis 
attorney, recalls Harrison's first legal 
fee, 95, n.27 

Johnson, Lucretia K., first wife of 
John Scott Harrison, married in 
1824, died in 1829, 18, 11.50 

Johnson, Andrew, Vice- President and 
President, prominent speaker for 
Republican party in 1864, 2 7; pre- 
sides with Cabinet at the Grand Re- 
view, 304 

Johnson, Zechiel and Johnson, Indi- 
anapolis law firm, 95, n.27 

Johnston, Joseph E., Confederate gen- 
eral, regarded as Lee's peer in de- 
fensive generalship, 234-35; employs 
70,000 troops in the construction of 
strong entrenchments, 235; reported 
ready with 60,000 effective troops 
prior to the Atlanta campaign (q.v.), 
242; forms horseshoe-shaped defense 
at Resaca (Ga.), imitating Union 
strategy at Gettysburg, 247; effects 
strategic retreat from Resaca, 252; 
escape of, chagrins Gen. Sherman, 
254; continued withdrawals of, 
gradually expose Atlanta, 256; Har- 
rison explains aim of defensive gen- 
eralship of, 257; political* significance 
underlying delaying tactics of, 259; 
resigns command under fire of criti- 
cism, 259; unsuccessfully encounters 
Sherman near Bentonville (N.C.), 
294; concludes negotiations on April 
26, 1865, styling Sherman's peace 
policy "enlightened and humane," 


Jomini, Baron de, author of The Po- 
litical and Military History of the 
Campaign of Waterloo and The Art 
of War, 227-28 

Jones' Cross Roads (N.C.), deploy- 
ment of Harrison's brigade at, to 
guard against a Southern with- 
drawal, 301 

Jordan Foundation; see Arthur Jordan 

Journal (Indianapolis), cites Har- 
rison's generosity, 37-38, n.go; de- 
bates Civil War issues with Indian- 
apolis Daily Sentinel, 175; notes Har- 
rison's recruiting efforts, 182; pre- 
dicts Col. Harrison's effectiveness as 
regimental commander, 185; under- 
scores danger as Hoosiers move 
South to check Gen. Bragg, 187; car- 
ries protest against Harrison's strict 
discipline, 220; makes political capi- 
tal in 1864 after sudden sweep of 
Union victories, 266-67; editorial- 
izes Harrison's first furlough and 
homecoming after fall of Atlanta, 
270; justifies Lincoln's administra- 
tion, 272; endorses "Abe and Andy," 
274: lauds Harrison's major 1864 
campaign effort as "eloquent and 
profound," 276; pays tribute to Har- 
rison's military achievements, 313 

Junkin, A. C., at Miami U.'s 1852 com- 
mencement declaims on topic, "The 
Useful," 64 

Ketcham, John L., attorney, delivers 

principal civilian address as 7oth 

Ind. breaks camp, 186 
Kilpatrick, Hugh J., Union general, 

member of strategy council in 

Georgia, 245 
Kirby-Smith, Edmund, Confederate 

general, Harrison recalls advance of, 

through Cumberland Gap, 177; 

Harrison's view that he and Gen. 

Bragg could be thoroughly defeated, 

Kitchen, Dr. John, describes associa- 

tion with Harrison, 92, 97 
Kitchen, Mary (Mrs. John), befriends 

Carrie Harrison on Indianapolis ar- 

rival, 92 
Knefler, Fred, Union general, with 

Gen. Harrison is lavishly extolled 

by Gov. Morton, 313, n..j6 
Knights of the Golden Circle, exposed 

as "treasonable" society in Indiana, 

270; see also "Sons of Liberty" 
Knipe, Joseph F., Union general, com- 

mands brigade under Gen. A. S. 

Williams (q.v.), 232, n-97 
Know-Nothing party, 129; censured for 

its prescriptive dogmas, 271, n-ig; 

see also American party 
Knox, John, Scottish leader of the 

Presbyterian faith, 112 
Kossuth, Lajos, Hungarian patriot, 

1852 visit of, to Indianapolis, 90 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, evokes heteroge- 
neous reactions in Indiana, 117; see 
also Nebraska Bill 

Kansas-Nebraska imbroglio, discussed 
by Congressman John Scott Har- 
rison, 130-31 

Kansas, Territory of, reports of politi- 
cal corruption among Republicans 
in, 129; as an issue in the 1860 In- 
diana campaign, 142 

Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio), 17 

Kerr, Michael C., in 1860 loses race for 
office of State Supreme Court Re- 
porter, 137-38; becomes 1862 Demo- 
cratic nominee for Reportership, 
208; wins Reportership by defeating 
"Pop-Gun" Smith, 213 

Kerr i>s. Jones, and Judge Perkins* de- 
cision that Harrison must abandon 
either colonelcy or Reportership, 
208, n.68 

Lackawaxen (Pa.), 290 
Lafayette (Ind.), 99; Harrison's cam- 
paign at, to re-elect Lincoln, 276, 


Lane, Henry S., accepts 1860 Republi- 
can gubernatorial nomination in In- 
diana, 138; regarded by Hoosiers as 
a founder of Republican party, 138, 
n.ig; opens 1860 campaign at Terre 
Haute, 141; debates with Tom Hen- 
dricks (q.v.) attract large crowds, 
144; elected governor, 153; inaugura- 
tion of, on January 14, 1861, 156; 
resigns gubernatorial post for U.S. 
senatorship, 156 

Lane, Isaac S. f speaks on "Free 
Thought and Free Action" at 1852 
Miami U. commencement, 64 

Lane, Joseph, U.S. senator, 1860 vice- 
presidential nominee on Southern 



Democratic ticket headed by Breck- 
inridge (q.v.), 146 

Lawrenceburg (Ind.), 29, 88-89, 133, 
n.94; distillers of, buy com from 
John Scott Harrison, 22, n.i3; site 
of Presbyterian Church where Henry 
Ward Beecher (q.v.) had first pas- 
torate, 28; hears Harrison's 1860 
stump speech against "slave olig- 
archy and slave aristocracy," 147; 
Harrison's 1864 campaign address 
at, 270; welcomes steamer carry- 
ing Harrison and homeward-bound 
Hoosier veterans, 312 

Lebanon (Ind.), site of Harrison's ad- 
dress opening 1860 campaign, 141- 


Lee, Robert E., Confederate general, 
grows confident after Union forces 
flee "across the swamps," 177; re- 
ported as "shockingly whipped" in 
September, 1862, 197; responsible 
for defense of Richmond, 234; awaits 
thrust by Gen. Grant, 244; figures in 
Hood's dream of marching first to 
Ohio, then joining forces in Vir- 
ginia, 280; awaits Grant's attack in 
Virginia, 289; report of surrender 
of, to Grant reaches Harrison at 
Wilmington (N.C.), 297; concludes 
peace terms with Grant, 301; 7oth 
Ind. befriends hungry and ragged 
troops of, 302 

Lee and Gordon's Mill (Ga.), advance 
of the 7oth Ind. to, 244 

Legal profession, defended by Harrison 
in collegiate debate, 62 

Lexington (Ky.), awaits Gen. Bragg's 
arrival, 216 

Library of Congress, accepts Harrison 
papers, xx 

Ligonier (Pa.), town of, laid out by 
Col. John Ramsey (q.v.), 18 

Life of Washington, The, by Jared 
Sparks, as 1839 best-seller finds place 
in W. H. Harrison's library, 27 

Lincoln, Abraham, as exponent of the 
"greatness of our Constitution," 8; 
calls for volunteers in July, 1862, 
40; "house divided" stand of, 
adopted by Harrison, 143-44; en- 
joys Hoosier support at 1860 Chi- 
cago convention, 145; receives 1860 
presidential nomination on third 
ballot, 145; rdle of, as a "higher 
law" president feared by J. S. Har- 
rison, 153; in 1860 defeats Douglas 

in Indiana by nearly 25,000 votes, 
154; hides opinion of slavery issue, 
155; puzzles post-election America 
by cautious attitude, 157; pre-in- 
augural speeches called "colorless . . . 
trivial," 158; described by Harrison 
as a "great simple hearted patriot," 
159; speaks at Indianapolis en route 
to Washington, 160-61; issues call 
for 75,000 three-month volunteers, 
163; searches continuously for a gen- 
eral, 175; on July i, 1862, asks for 
300,000 more volunteers, "chiefly of 
Infantry," 177-78, 189; blamed by 
Fishback for Union reverses, 197; 
fear of "the fire in the rear" re- 
called, 210, n.77; issues preliminary 
proclamation of emancipation, 213; 
pays no heed to criticism after 1864 
victories by Sherman, Sheridan, and 
Farragut, 266; chided as "worthless 
public servant" by Indianapolis 
Daily Sentinel, 271; defended by 
Harrison: "the progress of Mr. Lin- 
coln has been but the progress of the 
people," 275; wins re-election with 
400,000 majority over McClellan, 
276; news of Savannah's capture 
comes as Christmas gift to, from 
Gen. W. T. Sherman, 285; befriends 
John Defrees (q.v.), 289, n-7; sanc-